Facebook has been playing with its users’ emotions, and now a lot of people are upset.
For one week in 2012, hundreds of thousands of Facebook users were unknowingly subjected to an experiment in which their news feed was altered to see whether certain kinds of content made users happy or sad.
The research that resulted from that experiment, which was published in an academic journal this month, said emotions appeared to be contagious: If users saw happier posts from friends in their Facebook news feed, they were more likely to post their own happy updates. Sad updates appeared to have a comparable effect.
In other words, the study seems to show you are what you eat, as the saying goes — except in that metaphor, you usually get to choose what you put in your mouth.
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