Facebook have been toying with your emotions

30 June 2014

Bitterwallet - Facebook Everyone knows that Facebook are a company that indulge in dark behaviour, but their latest stunt will have a number of people more than worried.

They've been trying to control people's emotions.

Now, of course, there'll be swathes of people who will sniff at the whole idea, saying that no-one should be gullible enough to have their feelings messed with by a corporation, however those people are probably feeling smug because Facebook got in their brain and told them to do so.

Basically, what happened is that Facebook did a psychology experiment on around 700,000 users without asking. They manipulated news feeds in a bid to control which emotional expressions members were exposed to.

Why? Well, it was done in collaboration with two US universities to see if "exposure to emotions led people to change their own posting behaviours".

Facebook said there was "no unnecessary collection of people's data" and that "none of the data used was associated with a specific person's Facebook account," like that's the thing anyone is concerned about. This isn't a personal data issue - it's a Controlling People's Minds Like Some Bleak Sci-Fi Movie issue. It is more of an issue that a big company doesn't fully understand ethics, consent and power on its platform.

Cornell University and the University of California at San Francisco were also in cahoots on this experiment.

Labour MP Jim Sheridan wasn't happy: "This is extraordinarily powerful stuff and if there is not already legislation on this, then there should be to protect people. They are manipulating material from people's personal lives and I am worried about the ability of Facebook and others to manipulate people's thoughts in politics or other areas."

Yeah. That's why everyone hates Ed Miliband.

He continued: "If people are being thought-controlled in this kind of way there needs to be protection and they at least need to know about it."

Adam Kramer of Facebook, who co-authored the report on the research, said: "We felt that it was important to investigate the common worry that seeing friends post positive content leads to people feeling negative or left out. At the same time, we were concerned that exposure to friends' negativity might lead people to avoid visiting Facebook."

However, he admitted that the firm did not "clearly state our motivations in the paper" and that "I can understand why some people have concerns about it, and my co-authors and I are very sorry for the way the paper described the research and any anxiety it caused."

TOPICS:   Social Media


  • seb
    some psychological research would be invalidated if participants knew they were taking part. simple answer for all moaning minnies - don't use [free] facebook if you don't like what they're doing.
  • William
    Why would anyone have a facebook account? years of being told to protect your identity from theft and then decide to publish it all online. People are nuts.
    Is Facebook still going?
  • Big M.
    Dear facebook, here is my life on a plate. Please enjoy this data and your attempts to monetise it. Regards, a fuckwitt.
  • Slacker
    If you use Facebook, you're a dumb fuck. That's probably the only thing I would ever agree with Mark Zuckerberg on.

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