Here’s what you need to know about that Facebook experiment that manipulated your emotions


In case you missed it, a storm of controversy involving Facebook (s fb) blew up over the weekend, after news emerged of a psychological study that was conducted on hundreds of thousands of users of the social network without their knowledge, in which researchers manipulated the emotional cues those users saw in their Facebook streams, and then tracked their subsequent behavior. Reactions to the news ranged from resignation or even acceptance to disgust at the company’s decision, and the unethical practice of altering the emotional status of thousands of users without permission.

What did the experiment involve?

As The Guardian explains, the study was done by a team of researchers that included a data scientist working for Facebook. It blocked specific kinds of emotional content from the news feeds of 689,003 people or about 0.04 percent of Facebook’s total user base, for a week in January of 2012. The…

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