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Facebook Allowed Researchers to Influence Users in 2012 Study

A Facebook Inc. researcher apologized after conducting an experiment that temporarily influenced what almost 700,000 readers saw on their news feeds, reviving some customers’ concerns about privacy issues.

The number of positive and negative comments that users saw on their feeds of articles and photos was altered in January 2012, according to a study published June 17 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. People shown fewer positive words were found to write more negative posts, while the reverse happened with those exposed to fewer negative terms, according to the trial of random Facebook users.