Facebook News Feed – tweaking content to play with our emotions
A Facebook News Feed packed with negative status updates from peers is more likely to spur individual users to follow suit, a new study carried out by the social network has shown.
The company’s experiment artificially tweaked the feeds of 689,003 users to show more downcast or more positive updates from their friends over the course of one week.
The results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science showed a direct correlation between the emotions conveyed in the users’ own posts over that period of time.
While it’s unsurprising that something sad or happy happening to a large number of close friends and acquaintances can affect our emotions, the study does offer a modicum of proof social media is affecting the mood of users, for better our worse.