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Social Media Mood Swings Tracked By Facebook

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Can social media posts make you happy or sad?

An experiment by Facebook is now coming under fire.

Hundreds of thousands of people had their news feeds manipulated by the social network for one week in 2012.

Facebook intentionally put upbeat posts on some user’s feeds and negative posts on others.

It was designed to test your mood.  A Massive psychological experiment where Facebook scientists filled nearly 700,000 users’ news feeds with either a bunch of positive posts or a bunch of negative posts. The experiment’s results showed users who were fed positivity were slightly more positive than those who were fed negative posts.

Bridget Carey is a senior editor with CNET.com who spoke with CBS This Morning.

Because it’s believed none of the study’s participants gave consent, she believes the news feed manipulation is an ethics issue.

“You have to worry about what that means going forward, said Carey.  “Are advertisers going to take advantage of that serving up ads for you if you are feeling a little blue.”

The social media giant said the actions are covered in their data use policy and that while they frequently do research to improve the site’s content, it never collects unnecessary information.

One of the Facebook researchers who designed the experiment released this statement saying:

“My coauthors and I are very sorry for the way the paper described the research and any anxiety caused in hindsight, the research benefit may not have justified all of this anxiety.”

The results of the study were published this month in the Journal Science and it was all part of a psychological study Facebook conducted with researchers at Cornell and the University of California, San Francisco.

Watch the report, click here.

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