Science and Tech


Your Facebook Friends Are Affecting Your Mood

A study shows emotions expressed in Facebook posts are contagious, so you might want to take another look at your friends list.
Posted at 3:33 PM, Mar 14, 2014

If you're feeling down today, it might not be your fault.

Blame Facebook. Or more specifically, your awful Facebook friends. No, really.

A study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One found "online social networks may magnify the intensity of global emotional synchrony."

​Or in Facebook terms, a post that reads, "Rain? Again?" will impact the mood of one to two of said whiner's friends.

To test this, the BBC reports researchers from the University of California, Yale and Facebook analyzed the emotional content of billions of posts between January 2009 and March 2012.

To test mood changes, researchers did use posts about rain. When the skies turned gloomy, negative posts reportedly increased 1.16 percent and positive posts decreased 1.19 percent.

But then, Quartz reports, "For every negative post from the rainy group, dry friends posted 1.29 more negative posts than would normally be expected."

Indicating that yes, your friend living in Seattle can affect your mood when you're in sunny SoCal. But there is good news for the water-logged.

KNSD — fittingly in San Diego — adds a positive mood is more infectious, "yield[ing] an additional 1.75 positive posts among friends."

The lead author of the research published online told The Wall Street Journal this means moods could essentially go viral. "It is going to have implications for financial markets, which have bubbles and busts, and it has implications for political activity."

The catch is we know this happens face-to-face, so I guess, why should Facebook-to-Facebook be any different?