Facebook had altered News Feeds of some users’ to study the emotional impact of its users. Adam Kramer, Facebook data scientist and co-author of the study, has posted an explanation of the motivation behind the research.
“The reason we did this research is because we care about the emotional impact of Facebook and the people that use our product,” says Kramer. “We felt that it was important to investigate the common worry that seeing friends post positive content leads to people feeling negative or left out. At the same time, we were concerned that exposure to friends’ negativity might lead people to avoid visiting Facebook.”
He further explains that the goal of the research is to find ways to provide better service to users. The experiment was written and designed by Kramer. He says that “our goal was never to upset anyone. I can understand why some people have concerns about it, and my coauthors and I are very sorry for the way the paper described the research and any anxiety it caused. In hindsight, the research benefits of the paper may not have justified all of this anxiety.”
There are criticisms on the way the research is conducted, some have the opinion that the company should at least tell users that they are part of an experiment, and even offer a chance to opt out ahead of time, if not interested. Kramer says that Facebook has improved its internal review practices since 2012, when a similar research was conducted. He also assures that future research will consider the reaction to this study.
SOURCE: Adam Kramer (Facebook)