Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Facebook research rapped

  • Print

SAN FRANCISCO -- A privacy watchdog group filed a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission claiming Facebook broke the law when it conducted a study on the emotions of its users without their knowledge or consent.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center filed the complaint Thursday.

The complaint alleges Facebook deceived users by secretly conducting a psychological experiment to explore if seeing positive or negative updates in their news feeds sways their emotions.

"At the time of the experiment, Facebook did not state in the Data Use Policy that user data would be used for research purposes. Facebook also failed to inform users their personal information would be shared with researchers," the complaint says.

Facebook issued a statement in response to the complaint.

"When someone signs up for Facebook, we've always asked permission to use their information to provide and enhance the services we offer. To suggest we conducted any corporate research without permission is complete fiction," the statement says. "Companies that want to improve their services use the information their customers provide, whether their privacy policy uses the word 'research' or not."

Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, said he has also reached out to regulators and is considering his own complaint.

"We are speaking to the FTC next week about the potential violation," Chester said.

Facebook is already facing an investigation from British regulators.

Facebook is under a settlement with the FTC over privacy issues, but the settlement was reached in August 2012 after the one-week study was done.

Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg apologized Wednesday, saying the study was part of "ongoing research" to test products and was "poorly communicated."

The experiment has angered Facebook users who have protested on Facebook and social media.

The complaint from the Electronic Privacy Information Center echoed those protests.

"The company purposefully messed with people's minds," it says.

 

-- USA Today

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 4, 2014 B6

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Sanders gives other candidates a reality check

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Hay bales sit under a rainbow just west of Winnipeg Saturday, September 3, 2011.(John Woods/Winnipeg Free Press)
  • A Great Horned Owl that was caught up in some soccer nets in Shamrock Park in Southdale on November 16th was rehabilitated and returned to the the city park behind Shamrock School and released this afternoon. Sequence of the release. December 4, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think e-cigarettes should be banned by the school division?

View Results

Ads by Google