Back in 2012, Adam Kramer, Facebook’s Data Scientist, ran an experiment on 689,003 Facebook users for a single week. The study, which was recently published in PNAS by Kramer and two university academics, has prompted major controversy due to its unsettling nature.
Facebook experimented by allowing researchers to manipulate users’ newsfeeds in order to monitor the influence on their emotions. One group had individuals whose feed content highlighted the good that surrounded them, the second group had individuals whose feed consisted of mainly negative content.
The result? We are, in fact, highly influenced by the emotions communicated to us through friends via social media.
We’ve all had our gripes with Facebook at one point or another, but our distaste for the the site’s layout pales in comparison to this. Psychological experiments can be undoubtedly consequential, but in more serious circumstances, has the ability to cause serious complications in the long run to those susceptible to depression.