Researchers recently published a paper that detailed how they manipulated the emotions of 689,003 Facebook users in 2012, in an effort to determine whether positive and negative posts had an effect on their moods.
It turns out that yes, people feel differently and thus post differently, when they see positive or negative posts in their feeds.
The researchers conducted another unwitting experiment on themselves and their employer: Would revealing such an experiment enrage ordinary Facebook users as well as the academic and scientific community? The answer, they learned over the past weekend, was decidedly yes.
The Facebook Experiments
Researchers ran two parallel experiments for one week in January 2012. In one, they modified the Facebook news feed algorithm to show fewer positive posts in select people’s timelines. Another group saw fewer negative posts.