Facebook deliberately made people sad. This ought to be the final straw (2012)

For one week in January 2012, Facebook deliberately made about 155,000 people sad, just to see if it could.

Stated that bluntly, it’s not hard to see why the company’s study, which was published in the prestigious PNAS journal on 17 June, has elicited such a strong negative reaction.

To be fair to the firm, it also made a similar number of people happy. The study involved examining Facebook profiles for evidence of “emotional contagion”, trying to find out whether being exposed to specific emotions invokes that mood in readers. For some, that meant 90% of all “positive” posts were removed from their newsfeed for a week, rendering the social network a pit of despair. Even more so than normal…

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What a vile thing to do–I wish somebody somewhere sued them