Facebook is in mood of controlling your mood. The researchers of Cornell University and the UOC San Francisco, helped social networking site Facebook on researching about users mood based on the changes in their newsfeed, and how they felt and what was their response.
This revelation of the secret experiment which compromised the privacy of hundreds of users tells proves the power of such large sites that enable them to manipulate users in sophisticated ways. To perform this experiment, Facebook chose random 700,000 people for duration of one week in the year 2012 to obtain various results. They performed this experiment of psychology by changing the newsfeed content, by including more of happy and positive news, with lesser sad news. Later they studied that emotions are contagious, and they become happy by hearing good news from a person who even they haven’t met in their whole life, but they become happy just by few lines of words posted by those people on facebook.
This type of study can be very useful and productive but if conducted in a proper and professional manner. The standard business and research practices requires to researchers to ask for consent of the participants. However, Facebook is contending that they had all the consent, as all the users sign the license agreement when signing in for facebook. But the notion is that consent based on that OK at the start of signing up for Facebook cannot be guised as consent from the users. Most importantly, no one believes that the form he is signing will come up with some kind of research activities later and will make him/her a subject of the research.
The most interesting part is that even now when the report is out and created hue and cry in media, even now no one knows or might know that he was one of the subject of that large psychological research conducted in 2012. Even thought there is no rejection on the fact that many people still don’t care much about this. Still, these revelations show us the extent up to which these big and rich companies can go, to explore and discover the manipulations of our emotions, feelings and most important lives of their customers, who are the source of billions of Dollars profit for them annually.
Like many other big organizations, facebook also enjoys a monopoly on certain departments of consumer activities. But the impact of this power is now deemed as dreadful. Who knows if facebook starts contracting with governments or other advertisers to give them access of our information so that they could advertise more efficiently on the cost of our privacy.
The advantage of manipulating emotions of users in such a way is that in this way, the companies would no longer be required to censor and monitor the news by blocking its reach from users. The simple way would be to only feed that content on the newsfeed that the user wants to see.