Cornell ethics board did not pre-approve Facebook’s manipulative “mood study”

Cornell University did not pre-approve a study that Facebook did, in which it manipulated user’s news feeds to see how showing them mostly positive or mostly negative posts affected the outcome of a user’s post. So Facebook made guinea pigs of its users, and brought people down or brought people up. Those put in a positive mood will now find out that there wasn’t general happiness in the world the day they responded with positive posts; it was just fb manipulating them. Those brought down into negative moods could have been spared some pain and stress and depression.

“In the study, researchers at Facebook tweaked what hundreds of thousands of users saw in their news feeds, skewing content to be more positive or negative than normal in an attempt to manipulate their mood. Then they checked users’ status updates to see if the content affected what they wrote. They found that, yes, Facebook users’ moods are affected by what they see in their news feeds. Users who saw more negative posts would write more negative things on their own walls, and likewise for positive posts.” –Gail Sullivan, The Wasington Post

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