689,000 users were used as lab rats for seven days
What Facebook’s researches have come up might surprise you and take your imagination to a whole new level. Facebook says that if you are stalking a frenemy’s tragic life on Facebook to feel a sense of “schadenfreude” you should be aware of the fact that you could soon be a victim of depression. Around 689,000 users were used for this research which continued for seven days straight. During this time period, their profiles were kept under check and whatever appeared on their News Feeds was seen to determine what impact they had on their moods.
A paper was recently published in the PNAS which stated that a special software was being used by the social network to indentify positive and negative words in status updates. The posts were then divided into these two different groups. After this Facebook massaged the subjects’ News Feeds to show mostly positive or negative posts and the researchers hence proved that emotions can be contagious even when there is no direct contact on the social networks. Only reading the words is enough. By the end of the experiment, those who’d been subjected to positive status updates posted happy ones of their own, and vice versa.
And the users who were more exposed to posts that were neither nor positive were thought to be less emotional in the days that followed. Here is something which you probably didn’t think of earlier; if you have agreed to the terms and conditions of Facebook (which you most certainly have) then maybe you were also one of the lab rats for this experiment.
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