Facebook users mood investigated by experiment newsfeed




Facebook has an experiment conducted among hundreds of thousands of users. A team of employees watched how people reacted to a news feed in which positive or negative posts were dominating. The users were unaware of the experiment.

A scientific reporting of the experiment carried out appeared in the journal PNAS. Facebook did his studies in a total of 689 003 persons, who were not aware of and are randomly selected. The employees of Facebook experimented with the display of posts in the news feed of users that were included in the study.

Two experiments were carried out at the same time: one in which the amount of negative posts in the news feed from an individual user has been reduced and the amount of positive one in which the posts in the new feed was reduced. Negativity and positivity were measured on the basis of key words, for which special software was used.

Both experiments had a control group in order to make a comparison. As an outcome measure was the negativity or positivity taken from the posts that the user placed on Facebook. Thus, the researchers wanted to see if there is a connection between the emotion to which someone is exposed and the mood of the person.

The results show that there is what Facebook calls emotional contagion. If someone is exposed to negative posts, which does not necessarily have to be directed to the user, then it is more likely that that person reacts negatively. The same effect also occurs in reverse: in more positivity user himself responded positively. According to Facebook, the experiment shows that emotions unconsciously ‘contagious’ work.

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