It has been revealed that Facebook has been collaborating with the US government and creepier fringes of the academic community in carrying out experiments to manipulate users emotions.
Source: PC World
Facebook users have reacted angrily to a “creepy” experiment carried out by the social network and two American universities to manipulate their emotions.
The US technology giant secretly altered almost 700,000 users’ news feeds to study the impact of “emotional contagion”. It tinkered with the algorithm controlling users’ feeds to find out what effect it had on their moods in January 2012.
The aim of the government-sponsored study was to see whether positive or negative words in messages would lead to positive or negative content in status updates.
Its authors wrote: “Emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness. When positive expressions were reduced, people produced fewer positive posts and more negative posts; when negative expressions were reduced, the opposite pattern occurred.
“These results indicate that emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions, constituting experimental evidence for massive-scale contagion via social networks.”
Facebook carried out the research over one week in collaboration with Cornell University and the University of California.
It isn’t just Facebook of course, Google and Microsoft have been at it too – and in even creepier ways than Facebook. Are you surprised? Outraged? Or are you one of those sad acts who think its col to ‘share’ with the world stories of your intimate relationship with your hamster.
The attempt to use computer technology to control emotions is futile of course, a computer can only do what it is programmed to do and how can the kind of creepy nerds who work for corporations like Facebook and Google program computers to trigger or suppress emotions the programmers are not capable of experiencing. Emotions are a human thing and all the other humans quit the computer industry around the time I did.
Whatever, some of us have for years been posting warnings of how creepy these technology companies are. And academics? – Well it isn’t that long since the words mad and scientist were linked in the same way as greedy and banker.
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