Facebook Emotion Study: 5 ways the social network didn’t f*ck with us, but wanted to (probably)

Oh, come ON. Are you seriously telling me you haven’t spent a week manipulating 689,003 people’s emotions just so you could crow about it later? How do you think I spent half-term? (We don’t all have kids.) So Facebook found out they could alter people’s moods by affecting what kind of statuses they saw, so what. Here are 5 psychological experiments they didn’t undertake, but wanted to. (Probably.)

1. Selfie roulette. Every time someone posts a picture of themselves to Facebook, their phone or computer speakers blare either applause or boos and shouts of “Fugly!” You never know which you’re going to get and you can never put it on mute.

2. Who cares? When someone posts a passive-aggressive, call-for-help, “WELL, I guess you can’t trust anyone” type of update, it’s instantly hidden from all their friends’ news feeds, confirming everything the poster suspects about the hopelessness of humanity and the futility of life. You know, for fun.

3. Photoshop phunday. Every single ad in your sidebar features a photoshopped-in pic of your face. Weight loss products? Credit card companies? Ancestry.co.uk? Wherever you go, there you are (sometimes in a nice sepia.) An annoying and paranoia-inducing lesson in self-acceptance.

4. Procrastination beater. Make two visits to the site less than half an hour apart and a hand reaches out from inside the internet and gives you a quick, stinging, open-palmed slap. Ultimately abandoned because it was counter-productive, but best to watch what you say around the site, just in case.

5. Nobody Likes you. The function is blocked so that nobody Likes anything you say, ever again, even as your friends’ Likes pile up for banal observations or that meme we were all over back in April. Your sparkling jokes and cat photos get nothing, ever, and you sink into a spiral of despair from which you never recover.

See: when you think about how much worse it could have been, it’s really not that creepy for Facebook to play fast and loose with the emotions of users who just wanted to keep in touch with their family and that one weird kid from school. Right?

Diane Shipley

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