EPIC Fail: Facebook Study Provokes Formal Complaint from Privacy Group

EPIC files complaint with FTC about psychological Facebook study controvesy
On Thursday, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed a complaint against Facebook with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), requesting the company be investigated. The thirteen page complaint (PDF) states Facebook “purposefully messed with people’s minds” in order to conduct psychological research, referring to a study which was recently published in cooperation with Cornell researchers. Over the course of a week in 2012, approximately 700,000 users’ newsfeeds were purposefully manipulated so users saw either more sad news or more happy news. The researchers reported a successful study, claiming to have proven “emotional states can be transferred t...

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3 Responses to EPIC Fail: Facebook Study Provokes Formal Complaint from Privacy Group

  1. Victoria says:

    Using data for “research” is one thing. Secretly manipulating a user’s experience within their personal account is something else. The first might be protected by the privacy policy, but the second is clearly a breach of trust. What if one of those unwitting participants got depressed to the point of suicide? Shame on Facebook; account holders are not yours to experiment on. This is just one more reason why I will never sign up.

  2. Edward says:

    Spot on. Facebook needs to pay for their evil actions.

    If a university engaged in such behavior with human experimentation, they would lose funding. Professors’ careers would be ruined. Chairs of departments would be let go. Presidents and Provosts left with permanent stains on their ability to oversee their faculty.

    Facebook’s leadership needs to be taken to task for this arrogant behavior.

  3. J.K. says:

    What’s interesting is that, if anyone who viewed the negative targeted material committed suicide around that time, Facebook could be liable for negligence/homicide. That is, if a person who learned to trust Facebook suddenly was bombarded by negativity by that trusted source, while his/her guard was down… it’s like, for example, a trusted therapist suddenly attacking/criticizing/bullying you without end. Yes, that could push someone, a rare vulnerable trusting person, over the edge. Then Hollywood would make the movie, “Murder by Website”– and Facebook would be history.

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