Facebook Tests

The importance and effect of Facebook tests and what they reveal


We exist in a global village connected by social media. Life now has become simpler and complicated at the same time. You sure have the privilege to access and avail yourself with the information you need. But you are also sacrificing a significant part of your privacy and letting intruders in.

Social media now is a medium of socialization and also a withdrawal from the society itself. Facebook has 1.49 billion daily active users. In fact, even if you are not a user yourself, you might be living with someone who actively uses it.

As such Facebook or any other social media platform influences a lot on the way we think and act.

Facebook apparently manipulates people’s News Feeds all the time.” – Susan Fiske, Princeton University psychology professor.

It is no secret that social media manipulates users’ behaviour and thought process. The mechanism of social media has a definite ability to change your mood and shift your emotions. And there are certain Facebook tests that second the same.

What are Facebook Tests?

As per a report titled Experimental Evidence of massive scale contagion through social networks, Facebook in 2012 manipulated the news feeds of 689,003 people. In the experiment, a section of the user logged in and found a lot of positive emotional content in their news feed. Whereas another section found a lot of negative content. Facebook recorded the response to this content. And checked what the users posted themselves later.

As the Atlantic Reports states, the experiment is not illegal. Why? The users agree to share their personal details while signing up with Facebook. And, they also allow them to use the information for research and analysis.

Though the controversy, whether it is ethical or not still persists.

This revelation about the secret psychological experiment, brought Facebook under the umbrella of utter criticism. The public as well as the experts disdained this kind of psychological experiments.

It is a fact that you cannot conduct any psychological experiment without the consent of the individual involved. Contrast to that almost 700,000 individuals were involved in this secret experiment.

Even though the experiment does not directly violate privacy. It indeed utilized the information to manipulate the behaviours. However, the Facebook data scientists claim that personal data of the users are secure.

Importance and Implications

We can take into consideration two key points from the experiment and the report published afterwards.

  • “These results indicate that emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions, constituting experimental evidence for massive-scale contagion via social networks.”

This means that when you come across a positive post, you feel positive and happy. Even though you personally might not have experienced what it talks about. Moreover, more negative posts can create preponderance on negative behaviour.

  • “We also observed a withdrawal effect: People who were exposed to fewer emotional posts (of either valence) in their news feeds were less expressive overall on the following days, addressing the question about how emotional expression affects social engagement online.”

Hence, if it stirs your emotions or you are displaying any kind of reaction, the content of the posts is important to you. Or at least the way it appears looks relatable to you. Otherwise, you would have shown no tendencies to respond.

Why and how to consider in business?

Well if you are thinking about how your company or brand relates to it? Here is the answer. If you are into social media marketing, you must know how it finds a way in your strategies? How is it going to help you attract more?

You should consider all the content you are posting on social media. Keeping in mind the two points we highlighted earlier, this is what you can do.

• Analyse what kind of content are you posting.

• Is your content positive, inspiring, and uplifting?

• If your answer is in negative, time to turn all positive!

• Remember to be positive, at that the same time be authentic to your brand identity.

• Don’t think about posting great content. Think about posting what is important.

• Remember to focus on how the content is going to make your customers feel. Also, focus on how it affects those who come into contact with your company.

• Use it as business intelligence and analytics+ tool.

So we now know the answers to all the how, what, when, and why that revolves around tests. Remember, tweaking your post on social media can get your brand a little closer to your clients. And Facebook tests are a great way to get to know them better.

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