By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Talking about Facebook and emotional manipulation

Click on image to watch video

Click on image to watch video

Jon Keller of WBZ-TV (Channel 4) and I talked Monday about Facebook’s experiment in surreptitiously changing the emotional content in the newsfeed of some of its users to see if it made them happy or sad.

Author and Microsoft Jaron Larnier weighs in on The New York Times’ opinion pages today, writing:

The manipulation of emotion is no small thing. An estimated 60 percent of suicides are preceded by a mood disorder. Even mild depression has been shown to increase the risk of heart failure by 5 percent; moderate to severe depression increases it by 40 percent.

And if you want to get up to speed quickly, Mathew Ingram of GigaOm has written a terrific all-known-facts round-up.

This is an important issue, and it should not sink beneath a morass of outrage about other issues — although, sadly, it probably will.

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  1. The thing is, we’ve been manipulated by corporations (most by advertising, but also in stores) for years. The Mathbabe (Cathy O’Neil) has an alternate view here:

  2. Mike Rice

    Screwing around with people’s emotions is just despicable. DeFacedbook sums it up.

    • Mike Rice

      .. or as I posted on Mr. Keller’s blog: “TwoFacedbook.” Take your pick.

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