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THE NEWS WRAP: Facebook study plays with users’ emotions

Monday, 30 June 2014 | By Kye White

A Facebook data scientist, along with two university researchers, turned 689,003 users’ News Feeds positive or negative to see if it would elate or depress them.


The purpose of the study was to find out if emotions were contagious on social networks, which they are.


Facebook is able to conduct such a study because of a line in the site’s Data Use Policy which says users’ information could be used for research.


Facebook data scientist Adam Kramer helped run the study and says the company wanted to use the results to make Facebook better.


“We felt that it was important to investigate the common worry that seeing friends post positive content leads to people feeling negative or left out,” he says.


“At the same time, we were concerned that exposure to friends’ negativity might lead people to avoid visiting Facebook… In hindsight, the research benefits of the paper may not have justified all of this anxiety.”


Silk Road bitcoins auctioned off

When the FBI shutdown Silk Road, it seized a large amount of bitcoins, about 175,000 of which still remain in US government hands.


In an effort to cash in on these assets, the US government auctioned off nearly 30,000 of them, valued at around $US17.4 million.


The bitcoins were only available for bid in nine blocks, each containing around 3000 bitcoins.


The winning bidders will be notified early this week.


Google delays multi-language support in Google Now


The tech giant had previously announced multi-language support in Google Now would be arriving in the coming days, but a spokesperson has told CNET the company is holding back the feature because of software problems discovered in the final testing phase.




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