Facebook conducted secret mood experiment on users - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Facebook conducted secret mood experiment on users

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Facebook conducted a secret psychological experiment on the emotions of over 600,000 users in 2012.

For one week in January of 2012, Facebook changed the tone of the users’ news feed to display positive or negative posts from friends, according to The Telegraph.

“When positive expressions were reduced, people produced fewer positive posts and more negative posts,” wrote a team of Facebook scientists in a paper published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Scientists of the United States. “When negative expressions were reduced, the opposite pattern occurred. These results indicate that emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions.”

Facebook was able to conduct the experiment because all users must agree to terms and conditions which include “internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, test, research and service improvement.”

"None of the data used was associated with a specific person's Facebook account," said Facebook spokesperson Matt Steinfeld. "We do research to improve our services and to make the content people see on Facebook as relevant and engaging as possible. A big part of this is understanding how people respond to different types of content, whether it's positive or negative in tone, news from friends, or information from pages they follow."

Steinfeld added that there is a strong review process and there is no unnecessary collection of data in their research. "All data collected is stored securely."

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