If it seems like your Facebook friends are a bit more depressed than usual, blame Facebook. The social media site recently revealed that it tweaked the news feed of about 700,000 users to see how they reacted to positive or negative posts. Facebook’s researchers were studying how emotions can be spread on social media, and basically used us as its lab rats. The study found that moods are, in fact, contagious – if you see more positive statuses, you’re more likely to post something positive, too. While Facebook has defended and praised the study, everyone else is less than thrilled. Researchers have condemned the study and said it breached ethical guidelines because of “a lack of informed consent.” Facebook argues the study was okay because we give the company permission to do research when we agree to its Terms and Service. But reports say Facebook’s Terms of Service didn’t include the word “research” until after the experiment was over – which is all the more reason for us to read those lengthy agreements before we click “OK.”
About Shelly Palmer
Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit shellypalmer.com.