During the first week of January 2012, two university researchers launched a study of massive scale emotional contagion through Facebook. Throughout this week they took a random group of Facebook users and altered their feed with either positive or negative posts. They followed their reactions and concluded that positive feed was followed by decreased negative and increased positive postings while, negative news feed was followed by increased negative and decreased positive posts. In other words, emotional contagion is possible through Facebook.
The results demonstrate correlation between peoples’ moods and the positive or negative content of their News Feed. Correlation does not equal causation. Although there is a correlation in the study, its cause might have been that negative postings occur due to someone’s friends being generally depressing. It might also be that your mood leads others in your group to post thinks you will enjoy.
The ethics of the study make way for question on the results. The researchers violated privacy by not informing them on the research or asking for their consent. Although, Facebook argues that they broke no ethics clause because it was stated in the terms and conditions it is never stated what kind of research will be done. It simply says their feed will be observed, which can be assumed that they were just paying attention to your likes. Never is anything mentioned on psychological manipulation and beside the point a subject should always be informed of an occurrence of a study and should always be informed that it may at any time leave. According to the APA ethical code (section 8.02), psychologists are to inform on any research they will launch along with its purpose, length, and procedures. A participant should be informed of their participation and their right to withdraw from the research at any time The research does not follow any of these ethical codes therefore making the research unethical and futile.