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Try Facebook’s mood experiment on yourself

Whatever your views on Facebook’s massive experiment to manipulate our feelings via the manipulation of our news feeds, now you can run the experiment on yourself.

Lauren McCarthy built the Facebook Mood Manipulator to enable users to “take back control” of how you feel after looking at your friend’s pictures of their cats/children/better lives than you.

The browser extension, which currently works on Chrome, is based on Facebook’s research into massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks, and uses the same Linguistic Inquiry Word Count (LIWC) used in the Facebook study. 

The Facebook Mood Manipulator lets you be an asshole to yourself
The Facebook Mood Manipulator lets you be an asshole to yourself

“Facebook Mood Manipulator is a browser extension that lets you choose how you want to feel and filters your Facebook Feed accordingly,” she writes on her website. “Why should Zuckerberg get to decide how you feel? Take back control.”

You can adjust the content of your feed using on-screen sliders within Facebook to make you feel more or less positive, emotional, aggressive or open – and conduct the experiment on yourself to see how they feel over time.

“Aw yes, we are all freaked about the ethics of the Facebook study. And then what? What implications does this finding have for what we might do with our technologies? What would you do with an interface to your emotions?” McCarthy added.

The plug-in will let users manipulate your emotions on your own terms, she said.

Even better, why not sneak it onto your friends’/colleagues’/partner’s computers while their backs are turned and feel a bit of that godlike Zuckerberg power?


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