Recently, Internet users worldwide reacted strongly against
), claiming that the social networking platform had manipulated
their emotions. Earlier in 2012, Facebook and Cornell University
had conducted an experiment on nearly 7,000,000 randomly selected
users and that too without their consent for the same.
Per the experiment, Facebook had intentionally posted positive news
feeds on the profiles of some of its users while posting negative
news on others. This was done to determine whether seeing positive
feeds on one's profile made them happy or sad. Other profiles were
exposed to more negative posts to determine their impact on the
Furor over the experiment broke out soon after its results were
published in the March issue of the Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences. Per sources, the experiment was driven by an
age-old complaint by its users who said that people's posts on all
the wonderful things in their lives made them feel miserable about
their own not so-happening lives.
However, the results of the experiment proved otherwise. Per the
result, users who were shown negative content were more likely to
produce negative posts. On the other hand, users in the positive
group were more likely to create more upbeat posts.
Hence, it can be concluded that the experiment worked for Facebook
as the social media platform was successfully able to influence
people's emotions. Facebook, however, stated that it was an
endeavor by the company to improve its service and it never
intended to hurt the sentiments of its users.
We believe that as per the terms of service, Facebook may not face
any legal implications on account of the experiment. However, this
experiment should not have been conducted without the consent of
the affected users. It may adversely impact the popularity and
credibility of the social media platform.
Currently, Facebook is the world's largest social media platform
with over 1.0 billion monthly visitors. It aims to take this number
to 7.0 billion in the near future. However, to do so, it will have
to attract users from all age groups.
We believe that Facebook's growing mobile user base, Instagram's
increasing popularity, frequent launch of new products and
international expansions will boost the company's top line and
profitability. However intensifying competition from
) remain a major headwind.
Currently, Facebook has a Zacks Rank # 3 (Hold).
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research?
Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days.
Click to get this free report
YAHOO! INC (YHOO): Free Stock Analysis Report
FACEBOOK INC-A (FB): Free Stock Analysis Report
TWITTER INC (TWTR): Free Stock Analysis Report
GOOGLE INC-CL A (GOOGL): Free Stock Analysis
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.