Following the news of Facebook’s controversial psychological experiment, a web developer has been inspired to create and release a plug-in that allows users of Google Chrome to control the types of posts that appear on their Facebook newsfeeds.
The social network conducted an experiment on 689,000 users to discover if people’s moods and emotions are affected by the types of posts they encounter, revealing that users became more negative when faced with a series of negative status updates over a period of time. It also showed the opposite effect – that users became happier and posted more positive updates when they encountered a string of happier posts.
This research has been deemed controversial as the website is not considered to have followed ethical procedures, tampering with newsfeeds without obtaining consent or informing subjects.
Lauren McCarthy, the New York-based developer who created the plug-in, has said:
“Why should Zuckerberg get to decide how you feel? Take back control; manipulate your emotions on your terms.”
Should users decide that they want to see what all the fuss is about, they can download the plug-in; it presents users with four sliders to manipulate and modify the types of posts appearing on the social network. The sliders filter aggressive, emotional, positive and open posts to the desired level, only showing posts that fit the parameters of the emotion. These were the sentiments tested by the social site.
For example, if a user opts to view more positive emotions, the plug-in will manipulate newsfeeds to show posts that are deemed happy and contain words such as phenomenal, proud, fun, great and lovely.