Facebook toys with users’ emotions

We read an article on the New York Times site that can cause either an uproar or be interpreted as possibly one of the most powerful studies yet – especially for those of us in the industry of digital media.

In a controversial paper, a Facebook researcher,  Adam D. I. Kramer, led an academic study with two counterparts that led to the altering of 689, 003 randomly selected users’ news feeds to display either predominantly positive or negative posts, and then monitored to see what these users then wrote or shared in their posts. This happened for one week in January 2012 – over 2 years ago!

We can’t help but wonder what this ability to manipulate what audiences see can be used for? If you think about it, seeing only positive posts could result in a happier outlook from users and possibly society as a whole, but the negative side, well, we can’t even begin to imagine what the catastrophic results could be.

You can read the full paper here.

This, to us, is The One Ring To Rule Them All scenario we’ve always wondered about (yes, we’re a bunch of literary nerds), and we can’t help but think of the future that Facebook has planned.

 

We found this absolutely fascinating and would love to hear what you thought of it. We invite you to contact us or comment below with your thoughts.

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