Facebook’s experiment on over half-a-million unsuspecting users has taken a new twist with the revelation that a researcher connected to a Department of Defense-funded program to use the military to quell civil unrest also participated in the study.
Social media sites exploded over the weekend after it was revealed that Facebook, no stranger to controversy of late, secretly manipulated posts being seen by nearly 700,000 users in 2012 in order to allow researchers to study how emotional states are transmitted over the platform.
Results of the week-long study conducted by researchers at Facebook, Cornell University, and the University of California appeared in the June edition of the journal ’Proceedings of the National Academy of Scientists’ (PNAS) under the rather insidious title, ‘Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks’.
Facebook altered the content that showed up on certain users’ news feeds to control the number of posts that contained words with positively or negatively charged emotions.
The team concluded its federally funded study by saying that “emotions spread via contagion through a network.”