After taking a lot of flak for its 2012 secret news feed manipulation experiment, social network giant Facebook could now see a backlash in the form of people purposely staying away from the site as part of an experiment to determine how happy people really are.
The experiment, which is called '99 Days of Freedom,' is a non-profit initiative by Just, a Netherlands-based communications firm, and aims to determine the psyche of Facebook users by encouraging them to refrain from using the social networking site for a period of little over three months.
"In response to Facebook's controversial mood experiment involving some 700,000 unwitting users, we present you 99 Days of Freedom; an online study on how life without Facebook impacts user happiness," states a post by Just on the official website of the experiment.
Just allows Facebook users to take part in its latest experiment via a standalone web portal. People joining the experiment are advised to take time-off from their Facebook accounts for 99 days and report back their current mental state (degree of happiness).
Just claims that users joining its '99 Days of Freedom' experiment, will be able to save 1683 minutes (or 28 hours) by logging off from their Facebook accounts.
This means that users should get to spend 28 hours on more important and high priority tasks.
"We had a lot of arguments about the experiment's duration. If it's too extended, participants will lose interest. If it's too short, there's no meaningful behavioral change to assess. In the end, we landed on a 99-day program with periodic surveys and posts, hoping that such interaction will serve as a support group of sorts," said Merijn Straathof, art director at Just, in an official press release.
Curious Facebook users wanting to assess 'degree of happiness' without the social networking site and people regretting spending more time on Facebook, instead of with their family, can sign up for '99 Days of Freedom'
To join the experiment, users can navigate to the standalone '99 Days of Freedom' web portal, and follow the three-step instruction, post which 'Life without Facebook' awaits.
Users signing up for '99 Days of Freedom' will receive communications from Just in the form of a 'degree of happiness' survey that will check users' 'happiness quotient' every 33, 66 and 99 days.
"Our prediction is that the experiment will yield a lot of positive personal experiences," adds Straathof.
According to Just, over 18,000 Facebook users have already chosen to take part in the '99 Days of Freedom' happiness experiment.