Chetan Bhasin's Blog

A Student, Poet, and a developer.

Facebook's Emotional Manipulation Experiment And What I Think About It

I just finished watching "The Social Network" movie for the third time. Only a couple of minutes after I was done I came across this article on Huffington Post regarding Facebook's experiment that manipulated emotions of several Facebook users by changing what was being shown to them.

The experiment conducted by facebook continued for one week in 2012 when the original algorithm for the news feed was replaced by one which made certain people see more optimistic posts, and others pessimistic stories.

What facebook found was that the responce of users was in clear corrspondance with what was being shown to them. No surpirse!

The information, which is now public has generated all sorts of reactions from Facebook users. There are both kinds of people — those who want to quite the social network, and those who protect the company.

Personally, I am strongly against any such experiments, and have not read any convincing comments favoring the company. It seems clear that the information of the experiment can effect how people see Facebook even if it lasts for a comple of days.

Being a strong lover of science of psychologoy myself, I understand that while some emotions go a long way in building our decions there are those that last only for a couple of days (or weeks in some cases).

While Facebook's quest for knowledge regarding the users' emotional reactions may only have triggerd some depressing feelings in some people for a while, there is no reason for us not to believe that it might have caused some havocs which we might not have discovered.

I don't yet know the basis on which facebook's algorithm decided who gets to see what, but let's assume that someone is already going through bad times, and then Facebook comes in the way and shows them more depressing stuff; in turn, making them make bad decisions which they may not recognize immidiately.

I am not saying that this theory is entirely true, but I don't think it would be wrong to consider the possiblity.

I appriciate Facebook's efforts in research related to social psychology, but there are also many ways in which I personally dislike Facebook (not saying that you should too).

Anyway, if I was to give my personal opinion I would ask people to maintain a healthy life and not let social networks and what they see on their screen determine their life. At the same time I also strongly encourage social psychology researchers and companies who dominate internet and social networks to not to conduct such experiments without proper precautions.

There is nothigng wrong in using a social networks, but it's also important to know your boundaries.

The Sky Which Is Mine [Poem]

I can still feel the pain when I want to.
I still feel the joy, yes I do.
I can still put the words down on paper;
I just don't know what to shape them to.

More desire to lose than to gain;
That is all that has changed.
Is it too bad to wish for freedom
When your house is no more your home?

To spend a moment with the face
That feeds this heart that is huge,
And fuels up the fire in the back of my head
And keeps burning the oil that it must do!

I still carry the pebbles - most beautiful.
They do not just shimmer - they shine;
To light up the world that they need to,
And make up the sky which is mine!

Adulthood Avenue [Poem]

The entrance of world of players
Is strange as it may seem.
There, kiss and kicks both appear fair,
And all garbage appears too clean.
Here, everybody keeps trying to act
Who they are not, and can never be.
This is a place where fear is a fact,
And that is what keeps them in teams.

Everybody plays their poker face,
And everybody knows what they hide.
Everyone knows what's real and what's fake,
Yet everyone will tell you lies.
Every morning the light might break free,
But it's more to see when it's the night.
For a time of day the frown may cease,
But, in the end, hands are used to clean wet eyes.

Every foot slips and trips in the tide,
But they never tell what they did.
Stern - they all act alike,
But are afraid of falling as when they were a kid.
The weaklings feed the stronger one--
It has always been the world's trend.
The philosopher only accepts that he is done
When he has made more enemies than friends.

Political Concepts [Poem]

I saw her crying while she was alone
When she thought that others and I were gone.
I heard her breath and saw the moist eyes,
Just like I had heard some of her painful lies.
She was once gambled and left in a havoc
Of which, now, I’m part of in a trapped block.

I knew that she cries because I did too,
But now, for what I have been through-
My heart is filled with a rigid strength
With new ideas lying upon few uncounted lengths.
However, I still hear fear in my footsteps
With hatred I was feeded with some political concepts.

They made me to kill, and to cry,
To hide more truths, and to tell more lies.
I hated nobody, but them; and to prove them wrong,
I preached more love and mercy in my songs.
I believe something shall change with my effort
Being a candidate of a new league built from scratch and dirt.

You may see a board hanging on my doorstep:
"Under Construction - A new political concept."
They play with hearts to prove their minds
And they lead the armies of different kinds.
To drop a bomb or to steal someone’s smile-
They teach the world in a handy style.

This isn't the result of years of ignorance,
Neither is it an answer to uncanny tolerance.
This is the crop of tears untamed--
They had it in their legacy and they create more pain.
But I’m sure, one day, one of my steps
Will establish some better political concepts.

Clean Up Your Own Tears [Poem]

Black - you feel; you’re out of the shock
Alone in dark, surrounded in the fog.
Slowly, from lips of soul, tears start to flow-
As you hear your heart - it beats too slow.
You are unafraid; you've had your fears.
You sit down and cry, and clean up your own tears.

You had friends who were not told
The stories of how you’ve been this cold.
You make it your bed; a sea from your sight-
Sinking in tears that came out of your own eyes.
You ask yourself how you could kill yourself,
But what do you do when your dreams have melt.

You look at your hands, and feet - they shake.
Your heart is hurt, yet it does not break.
You prefer to death, but you have to survive.
There is nobody who would look into your eyes.
They’re hurt too, and they refuse to sprout;
Yes, It’s when your tears refuse to come out.

You’re already tired of crying, they fear
For they know you’re tired of cleaning your own tears.
Though you do stop, it’s when the sky must rain-
To burn your wounds — a little more pain.
You look at the sky, and to it you say, “Surprise -
You do whatever now, I don’t have to clean my eyes.”

The Satan, who scares you no more, may appear,
You say, “Even you weren’t there to clean my tears.”
And he stands there with his head bowed down;
Because they fed you more hatred. Asked you to frown.
They put their heart to make sure that you see
How much you think you cannot be free.

You're amazed and lost in some kind of storm,
Living a life for which you were not born.
You know you need help, but there's nobody you see
Who must know what it is that you feel.
This throbbing soule wants to get up again,
But your're bound in affliction; you're no more sane.
Countless words and transfrences may rise
Among the cold water and the fog in the skies.

You know there is a wrong, and there is a right,
But all you could cry is that you can not cry.
There is nobody with the right sight
Who could see the world from your sight.
You look down, a million fathoms, and you’re about to jump
Convincingly, to make your life to come to an end.

That is when you see the glow.
Though you may not, but your heart does know
About the angel who comes to make a change.
You cry once again, and it's too strange.
Welcome to the this world — it's right beyond your fears.
Now, you don’t have to clean up your own tears.