Facebook Deceives Users in Controversial Newsfeed Experiment

Facebook Deceives Users in Controversial Newsfeed Experiment
Diverse People in a Seminar About Digital Marketing

If you’ve ever logged into Facebook and felt down, it could be due to what your friends are posting.

In 2012, Facebook performing an experiment on nearly 700,000 users by adjusting what updates we’re shown in a users newsfeed. By Tweaking the newsfeed algorithm, the experiment was designed to show a mixture of negative and positive updates to measure the reaction of the reader. It found that users exposed to more negative updates we’re prone to post negative updates themselves.

The resulting conclusion was that when exposed to verbal and textual cues, it had a significant impact on our emotions.


The Implications?


Right or wrong, it does raise some interesting questions. If we, as advertisers can impact a Facebook users mood by adjusting the posts they see, can we subliminally advertise products that they’ll be more likely to want?

Subliminal advertising is of course illegal, but it does sail very close to the wind. Let’s face it, Facebook is a profit making machine so whilst they maintain it was an academic experiment, I refuse to believe the subject of advertising isn’t somewhere on Facebook’s agenda.

I mentioned exactly this to the Daily Mail this morning.