So this is a little creepy. Facebook -- unsatisfied to know merely your interests, activities, friends, birthdays, friends' birthdays and sexual orientation -- wants to tell us how happy we are by measuring our "happy" words in status updates. I can't imagine anything more worthless and absurd than to know that Facebook is counting our yays and sad faces and adding them up like assets and liabilities on a bank balance sheet (no really, that's what this sounds like).


From the San Jose Business Journal:

The Palo Alto-based company is looking at status updates users post -- words like "yay" and "awesome" or "sad" and "tragid" [sic?] -- to create a Gross National Happiness index.

Yay for horrible business decisions! Facebook already has to field concerns about the privacy of its users' material, as it affects targeted advertising. But at least the goal there is for Facebook to make money. The goal here is ... to identify our happy days? And what are those?

The happiness index peaks at holidays, with the happiest days, in order: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, New Year's Eve. Some non-holiday days rank high as well. For example, the election day that saw Barack Obama installed as president had double the happiness quotient of an ordinary Wednesday.

Facebook bots are rifling through users' status updates to prove the long-contested hypothesis that people like winter holidays. How revelatory.

Point is, I personally don't care about what Facebook does with my Facebook info. But lots of other people do care that they can manage the privacy of their information. Facebook knows its biggest enemy is the implication that it's turning into our e-Big Brother, so what the heck is this? Either there's billion-dollar jackpot out there for some company to prove that people like Christmas, or this company has the public relations acuity of a tofu.


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