The Organizational Apology

by Maurice E. Schweitzer, Alison Wood Brooks, and Adam D. Galinsky

THE WASHINGTON POST called it “creepy.” The Atlantic said it “might have been illegal.” One privacy advocate wondered if it could have made people suicidal.

Those were just some of the reactions to the disclosure, in June 2014, that Facebook had allowed academic researchers to manipulate the news feeds of 689,000 users for one week. The experiment, in which half of the users saw fewer positive posts than usual and the other half saw fewer negative ones than usual, was designed to determine whether the changes would cause people to write more positive or negative posts themselves. In fact, the researchers did find evidence of “emotional contagion” and ...

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