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Facebook's secret experiment: Were you a victim?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/30/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

700,000 users had their accounts tampered with for science

A new study by Facebook has provoked outrage among users after it was found that the company manipulated the News Feed of some 700,000 users over one week in 2012.

Facebook's secret mood experiment has angered many users, which will lead to ethical questions being raised about science and technology's moral use.

Facebook's secret mood experiment has angered many users, which will lead to ethical questions being raised about science and technology's moral use.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
6/30/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: US, Technology, Facebook


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The study was preformed by researchers affiliated with Facebook, Cornell University and the University of California at San Francisco to study "emotional contagion" and published in the June 17 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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The study was preformed to see if the number of positive or negative words in a message affected the positive or negativeness of a users' status update, and seemed to be a success, with users responding similarly to the type of language they were shown.

Anger grew after the online magazine Slate and The Atlantic reported on the study on June 28.

"Emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness," the study said. "These results indicate that emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions, constituting experimental evidence for a massive-scale contagion via social networks."

According to Facebook's user licensing agreement, the study was legal, but users are angry or disturbed by the ethical implications of a major invasion of privacy.

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