Facebook Does Mind Control

Gurstein's Community Informatics

News is coming out about Facebook initiated and largely conducted social research experiment examining the effects of various types of emotionally loaded messages on the “mood” of selected Facebook (FB) users. The details of the study are now becoming widely known and it is clear that the actual study was the result of a combination of naivety and hubris on the part of FB staff who didn’t realize that there might be a very strong negative reaction to this kind of activity.

The actual experiment (and results) are quite interesting from a social research perspective and the undertaking of this kind of research is fairly unproblematic (or apparently at least not illegal according to FB terms of use) although it is unlikely that most universities would have allowed it to pass an internal ethical review (on the basis of a lack of “informed consent“). The findings do in…

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