For those of you curious what Facebook’s academic psychological experiment was like, you can now recreate it on your own account with the Facebook Mood Manipulator Chrome plugin from artist Lauren McCarthy.
According to McCarthy, the plugin uses the same Linguistic Inquiry Word Count that Facebook used in its study, which was conducted with researchers from Cornell University. The Mood Manipulator, which shows up on the top right section of the screen when you visit Facebook, provides toggles for Positive, Emotional, Aggressive and Open content.
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When I gave the plugin a quick try on my own Facebook account, my friends’ posts tended to be too noisy to see much of a difference. However, cranking up the Aggressive option did surface a post about someone being “pissed” about a sunburn.
I doubt many of you would want to keep this around long-term, but the plugin is an interesting artistic statement on Facebook’s machinations. For those that feel manipulated by Facebook’s experiment, McCarthy’s plugin offers a brief sense of control.
Facebook, for its part, has sort of apologized for the study.