May 16, 2012

The spread of emotion via Facebook

ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI)

By: Adam D. I. Kramer

Abstract

In this paper we study large-scale emotional contagion through an examination of Facebook status updates. After a user makes a status update with emotional content, their friends are significantly more likely to make a valence-consistent post.

This effect is significant even three days later, and even after controlling for prior emotion expressions by both users and their friends. This indicates not only that emotional contagion is possible via text-only communication and that emotions flow through social networks, but also that emotion spreads via indirect communications media.