Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks


Emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness. Emotional contagion is well established in laboratory experiments, with people transferring positive and negative emotions to others. Data from a large real-world social network, collected over a 20-y period suggests that longer-lasting moods (e.g., depression, happiness) can be transferred through networks [Fowler JH, Christakis NA (2008) BMJ 337:a2338], although the results are controversial. In an experiment with people who use Facebook, we test whether emotional contagion occurs outside of in-person interaction between individuals by reducing the amount of emotional content in the News Feed. When positive expressions were reduced, people produced fewer positive posts and more negative posts; when negative expressions were reduced, the opposite pattern occurred. These results indicate that emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions, constituting experimental evidence for massive-scale contagion via social networks. This work also suggests that, in contrast to prevailing assumptions, in-person interaction and nonverbal cues are not strictly necessary for emotional contagion, and that the observation of others’ positive experiences constitutes a positive experience for people.

By Adam D. I. Kramer, Jamie E. Guillory and   Jeffrey T. Hancock
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Starting to test Google Domains

It's 2014 and it seems obvious, but across laptops, tablets and mobile devices, a website is one of the first places people go to find information about a business. But amazingly, our research shows that 55% of small businesses still don't have one. 

So as we explore ways to help small businesses succeed online (through tools like Google My Business [http://goo.gl/Ajvbn5] ), we thought it made sense to look more closely at the starting point of every business’s online presence - a website. And that starts with a domain name.

We’re beginning to invite a small number of people to kick the tires on Google Domains [http://goo.gl/pHvjoO], a domain registration service we’re in the process of building. Businesses will be able to search, find, purchase and transfer the best domain for their business - whether it’s .com, .biz, .org, or any of the wide range of new domains that are being released to the Web. 
Google Domains isn’t fully-featured yet, but we’re giving a small group of people the ability to buy and transfer domains through it and send feedback on their experience. (You currently need an invitation code to do so, sorry!) We want input on all the ways we can help make finding, buying, transferring and managing a domain a simple and transparent experience. We also want to make sure our customer support and infrastructure works flawlessly, and that we have the right additional services (like mobile website creation tools and hosting services from a range of providers, as well as domain management support). We're working with some of the top website building providers like +Shopify+Squarespace+Weebly, and+Wix.com  to help make that happen.

While we’re still building out all of the features, our goal is to make Google Domains more widely available soon. You can check out the first cut of what we’re working on at www.google.com/domains.


Net Neutrality Shouldn’t Be Up To The FCC, Republicans Say

House Republicans on Friday challenged the existing framework for how net neutrality rules are set and enforced. At a hearing held by the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust law, the Republican members said the Federal Trade Commission, not the Federal Communications Commission, should have authority when it comes to net neutrality.
Net neutrality, which requires ISPs to allow all legal content to move through networks uninhibited, has made waves on the Hill since the FCC proposed a rule that would create “fast lanes” for companies that can pay more.
House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte said the Internet has grown because it is deregulated, but noted companies should not be permitted to engage in “discriminatory or anticompetitive activities.”
“I believe that vigorous application of the antitrust laws can prevent dominant Internet service providers from discriminating against competitors’ content or engaging in anticompetitive pricing practices,” the Virginia Republican said.  “Furthermore, antitrust laws can be applied uniformly to all Internet market participants, not just to Internet service providers, to ensure that improper behavior is prevented and prosecuted.”
The Republicans’ call for a shift to the FTC is likely spurred by the FCC’s history of questionable commitment to net neutrality, with some criticizing the agency for backtracking on the issue in recent years. In May, Rep. Bob Latta introduced a bill that would “limit” the FCC’s ability to regulate the Internet.
During the hearing, both former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell and FTC member Joshua Wright said that antitrust laws were better equipped to promote net neutrality than the FCC.
By Cat Zakrzewski
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