Facebook's 'creepy' psych experiment is just a beat-up

Despite the outrage in the media, a little bit of context suggests the social network's research around manipulating its users' emotions is neither controversial nor unethical.

During a single week in January, 2012, Facebook conducted an experiment involving almost 700,000 users. By scaling back the number of posts containing positive and negative words, Facebook ended up validating their hypothesis that emotional states “can be transferred to others via emotional contagion” -- or, as my mother used to say, smiles last for miles and a frown can get you down.

Quietly releasing the results of its two-year-old study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science last week, Facebook could hardly have anticipated the outrage.



{{ twilioFailed ? 'SMS Code Failed to Send…' : 'An SMS verification code has been sent ...' }}

Hi {{ user.FirstName }}

Looks like you have already taken a free trial

Please enter your payment details

We have sent you a code via SMS to {{user.DayPhone}}

please enter this code below to complete your SMS verification

We cannot send you a code via SMS to {{user.DayPhone}}

If you didn't receive SMS code please

SMS code cannot be sent due to: {{ twilioStatus }}

Please select one of the options below:

Looks you are already a member. Please enter your password to proceed

Please untick this box when using a public or shared device

Verify your mobile number to proceed...

Please check your mobile number below and press the Send Verification Code button. This will be used to complete your verification in the next step.

Please sign up for full access


Updating information

Please wait ...


{{ productPrice }} / day
( GST included )
Price $0
GST $0
Discount -{{productDiscount}}
TOTAL {{productPrice}}
  • Mastercard
  • Visa

Please click on the ACTIVATE button to finalise your membership


The email address you entered is registered with InvestSMART.

Please login or select "Don't know password"

Please untick this box when using a public or shared device

Register as a new member

(using a different email)

Related Articles