recently manipulated the news feed of nearly 700,000 users thereby breaching user privacy and creating controversy all over the world. Further, Facebook has revealed that they have manipulated user data for the purpose of research work in order to improve their services. The research has been conducted over a period of one week.
This particular act by facebook has created upheaval among users and authorities. Questions have been raised concerning user rights and ethics.
There have been sharp responses by prominent people in the offense of Facebook. Kate Crawford, a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology mentions about the failure of a company to regard ethical values and outright abuse of power.
Labor MP Jim Sheridan shared with the media that this is an extremely powerful stuff and it is time that legislation is written on this platform to protect people. He was worried about the fact that if this practice continued then how the political thoughts could be influenced as well which could affect everyone.
The aim of this experiment was to note how a change in the emotion of a user’s status message could affect those who read them.
EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center), a digital rights group has now filed a complaint to the US Federal Trade Commission. The complaint is based on the issue of Facebook violating ethical standards while experimenting on human subjects. EPIC sees it as a deceptive practice and demands action from the concerned Commission.
Cornell University and UC San Francisco have jointly ventured in undergoing research on the Emotional Contagion field related with social networks since January 2012. Facebook has joined this research activity by altering the user’s news feeds and researching on the response it created among other users. It is this act that has triggered the controversy in meddling with user’s data and manipulating their emotions without any permission.
Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook has stated that the whole issue was poorly communicated and further added that it was not meant to upset you. She also apologized for the same.
Facebook however claims that these research practices are within its bound as the objective of it remains to provide better user experience.
With organizations beginning to file complaint on this issue, one has to wait and see how this actually plays out.