Facebook has conducted an experiment that looks at whether or not the social network could manipulate the mood of its users. The experiment used over 600,000 Facebook users without the user’s knowledge or approval to participate. During the experiment, Facebook tweaked the algorithms used to show users news posts in their feeds to show mostly positive or mostly negative posts.
Facebook reportedly found that users who were shown more negative posts tended to post more negative things themselves. On the other hand, users who were shown more positive posts tended to be more positive in their own posts. The idea was to see if moods like happiness or depression could transfer across the social network.
The total number of Facebook users involved in the experiment was 689,003. “Emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness,” study authors Adam Kramer, Jamie Guillory, and Jeffrey Hancock write. “We provide experimental evidence that emotional contagion occurs without direct interaction between people (exposure to a friend expressing an emotion is sufficient), and in the complete absence of nonverbal cues.”
Via Business Insider