/// Sneaky Facebook Study on Users’ Emotions Draws Ire

June 30, 2014  |  Media Week

If you use Facebook and found yourself momentarily feeling either better or worse in early 2012, an algorithm may have caused your shift in mood. And that's what has some social media users upset today. A controversial research study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) on June 17 started to gain digital traction over the weekend. It revealed that Facebook for one week in January 2012 worked with Cornell University and the University of California-San Francisco to test the emotional reactions of nearly 700,000 users to pieces of content. The users weren't notified of their participation and unknowingly helped the researchers learn that people who read fewer positive words were found to write more negative posts, while the reverse occurred when consumers were exposed to fewer negative sentiments. The information-gathering practice isn't likely to be illegal since Facebook users sign away many privacy rights when they agree to participate on the social platform. And the study's gray ethical issues can be probably be debated ad nauseam.

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