Facebook Mood Manipulator, re-appropriating the calculation of emotion


The recent changes to (and consequent scandal about) Facebook’s research into mass-scale emotional contagion through social networks has garnered various reactions: from fatalistic passivity to loud outrage, from changing profile attitudes to deleting all posted content and signing off. Lauren McCarthy has turned this new awareness of corporate strategies into a proactive browser extension called “Facebook Mood Manipulator”. Using the same system used by Facebook itself (Linguistic Inquiry Word Count) it let users decide how they would “like to feel” on the platform using a interface to encode their personal emotional “status”, using basic sliders to increase or decrease their level of being “positive”, “emotional”, “aggressive” and “open”. The software is putting back in the hands of users the destiny of their timeline content, in an open software fight (authorised corporate scanning vs. users’ freedom to appear as they want) that will become a crucial battlefield of the near future.