You’ve heard of the Facebook experiment. Now one group is asking users of the social network to try one of their own: a Facebook fast. The Dutch nonprofit initiative is called 99 Days of Freedom, and it asks users whether they’d be happier without Facebook.
As we’ve written, Facebook conducted a study that manipulated people’s news feeds in order to test their emotional reactions — without their explicit permission. It was controversial, and the fallout continues, including a senator’s call for the FTC to take a look. A government inquiry might inch the fallout level a little higher, but it seems the real test is whether users care, and this campaign — which started as an office joke at a creative agency in the Netherlands, which says its employees are “fiercely loyal” Facebook users — is an effort to find out.
The Washington Post points out studies that have shown people do quit Facebook. But the social network’s account-holders use the site for keeping up with the Joneses, (and their families and friends), as a news source, a photo album, and more. There have been no reports that its users haven’t run for the hills in the wake of the experiment controversy. Will this new campaign gain traction? It was launched Wednesday, and as of last check, about 8,400 people had signed up for “freedom.” Facebook has more than 1 billion users.
Photo from Reuters archives