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Facebook, Inc.: Curating Moods in a Newsfeed Experiment

Hernandez, J., Weber, M., Ferguson, K., O’Rourke, J. S. (editor)
January 26, 2018
North America
Strategy & General Management, Ethics & Social Justice
8 pages
crisis management, customer communication, customer relations, ethics, social media, Technology
Student Price: 
$4.00 (€3.67)
Average rating: 

In 2014, the National Academy of Sciences published a study about an emotional contagion experiment that Facebook conducted on almost 700,000 of its members. Unbeknownst to test subjects, Facebook manipulated the newsfeeds certain members received and studied their reactions. This led to media coverage that called into question Facebook's ethics and corporate procedures. This case examines media and network user backlash to the experiment, and looks at Facebook’s policy on behavioral studies.

Learning Outcomes: 
  1. To exhibit how cultural norms bring about optimal strategies for crisis communication management.
  2. To demonstrate how psychological experimentation for the sake of higher learning can challenge corporate social responsibility.
  3. To describe how the manipulation of private information affects company reputation.
  4. To assist readers in beginning a discussion about the level of responsibility Internet companies may have to protect users’ privacy rights.