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Facebook Going Under Investigation Thanks to Mood Altering Experiment

Travelers Today       By    Staff Reporter

Updated: Jul 06, 2014 07:28 AM EDT

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When thinking of Facebook images of pictures with friends and clever status come to mind. While it's nice to see what friends and family are doing, Facebook may be prioritizing certain people and statuses to affect people's moods. In response to Facebook's mood altering machinations British officials have begun to investigate the company.

In 2012 Facebook adjust the kind of emotional content of around 700,000 users. The focus of this study was to try and better understand emotional contagion. Facebook prioritized happy news for some users and sad news for others. In turn they wanted to see if, by experiencing more content based on a certain emotion, if people would post in line with that emotion.

Many users were shocked upon hearing that they were subjects of experimentation. When asked about what was going with the experiment Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, said at a visit in India that whole incident was "communicated terribly." She also made clear that Facebook was very sorry for how the whole incident went down and that they are happy to cooperate with British officials.

Facebook's headquarters in Europe sit in Dublin, Ireland and so the investigation will be headed by their data protection authorities. The Information Commissioners Office's spokesman, Greg Jones, explained that it is too early to determine what laws Facebook may have broken but they will be working with them to decided what course of action to take.

After the news of the NSA's own intrusion into people's personal lives was leaked in 2012 by Edward Snowden, hearing that Facebook is getting involved is daunting. They have complete access to your personal information, they know where you are as you update, and if they are able to affect people's opinion and moods to a degree. It says in Facebook's terms and services that their users can be subject to types of experiments under the broad term of "research," with that kind of information and legal loophole there is plenty to be concerned about.

See Now: The U.S. had the highest number of Most Wanted properties, dominating the Hotels.com Loved By Guests Awards 2018

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