Facebook conducts study revealing 'emotional contagion' among users

By Allison Rubenstein,

Facebook recently conducted a network-wide study to evaluate the emotional impacts that users have on one another. The researchers concluded that without even knowing it, we experience “emotional contagion” and are influenced by the tones and language used by our Facebook friends.

Put simply, the more positivity we see on our news feeds, the more likely we are to post our own happy news.

Researchers also found there to be a “withdrawal effect:" People who were exposed to fewer emotional posts (of either valence) in their news feeds were less expressive overall on the following days,” the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America reported.

Despite the seemingly innocent intentions of the researchers, the study stirred much controversy over privacy issues, and whether or not the conductors should have been allowed to utilize data without user approval.

The researchers, however, insisted that the study followed the Facebook terms of service, according to ThinkProgress.

“If you want this convenient way to connect with 7 billion people, you have to give us your data,” Ramani Durvasula, a psychologist at California State University told ThinkProgress.

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