Chrome plugin aims to emulate Facebook emotion experiment

This week's tech headlines have been dominated by the Facebook emotion experiment controversy, and as ever, an enterprising soul has stepped up to capitalise on this with the creation of a plugin that can let you perform your own social mood testing.

If you missed this one somehow (hello there, under that rock!), the controversy is over a Facebook experiment with almost 700,000 users back in 2012, whereby news feeds were manipulated without their knowledge to see if a prevalence of negative or positive posting affected the user's own posts.

You can do a similar sort of experiment yourself with a freshly launched plugin for Chrome, produced by New York-based programmer Lauren McCarthy.

The Facebook Mood Manipulator (spotted by the Daily Mail) allows you to "leverage Facebook's own research to manipulate your emotions on your terms".

When installed, it produces a box of sliders (top right on your Facebook page) to control the content which appears in your news feed. You can place the sliders to the left or right to have less or more positive posts, as well as emotional posts, aggressive posts, or open ones. And then you can gauge how that makes you feel over time, just as Zuckerberg and friends were doing two years ago.

As to how well it works – that's open to debate, and unfortunately there are no reviews on the Chrome Web Store to indicate that.

Still, it's an interesting little plugin well-timed to ride a wave of controversy, and according to the programmer, the linguistic analysis is carried out by the Linguistic Inquiry Word Count (LIWC), the same system which Facebook employed.

Yesterday, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg apologised for the whole fracas, saying that the study was "poorly communicated", and "for that communication we apologise. We never meant to upset you."