EPIC, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, filed a formal complaint today with the Federal Trade Commission over Facebook's 'emotional contagion' study.
The experiment was conducted in 2012, and the results have become fodder for viral outrage online this week. Facebook manipulated about 700,000 of its users' newsfeeds, to see if changes could alter the users' emotions. EPIC says Facebook deceived its users and violated the terms of a 2012 FTC consent decree.
1. This complaint concerns Facebook’s secretive and non-consensual use of personal
information to conduct an ongoing psychological experiment on 700,000
Facebook users, i.e. the company purposefully messed with people’s minds. As
set forth in detail below, Facebook altered the News Feeds of Facebook users to
elicit positive and negative emotional responses. Facebook conducted the
psychological experiment with researchers at Cornell University and the
University of California, San Francisco, who failed to follow standard ethical
protocols for human subject research.
2. 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 that their personal information would be shared with researchers. Moreover,
at the time of the experiment, Facebook was subject to a consent order with the
Federal Trade Commission which required the company to obtain users’
affirmative express consent prior to sharing user information with third parties.
3. Facebook’s conduct is both a deceptive trade practice under Section 5 of the FTC
Act and a violation of the Commission’s 2012 Consent Order.
4. The Commission should impose sanctions, including a requirement that Facebook
make public the algorithm by which it generates the News Feed for all users.
Here's a copy of the complaint [PDF]
"Facebook manipulation experiment has connections to DoD 'emotional contagion' research"
"Facebook COO: Facebook cannot control emotions of users"
"Facebook's massive psychology experiment likely illegal"
Coming after improvements to Firefox and continued unease at Google’s life-pervading insight, this image is outperforming the ███████ ████ Virality Control Group today (via). It got me thinking about all the promises that were made. Here’s the earliest article in Google News to contain “Big browser” in its headline, published by Time Magazine on Nov. […]
The WiFi232 is a traditional old-timey old-schooley Hayes-compatible 300-115200 baud modem, no wider than its own parallel DB25 port. Automatically responds with a customizable busy message when already in a call. The killer app seems to be using it to get internet onto ancient retro portables like the TRS-80 Model 102, but it’s been put […]
Most tech-media takes on the iPhone’s 10th anniversary are bland and self-congratulatory, but I like Tom Warren’s at The Verge. He laments how Apple’s pocket computer killed his inner nerd. As a youngster, he’d be constantly tearing down and building computers, even in the sweltering heat of summer. But now… …All of that tinkering and […]
The current web development landscape is rife with buzzwords and technology that gets abandoned almost as soon as it’s made. If you’ve never written a line of code before, it can be hard to figure out what’s coming, what’s here to stay, or how to get ahead.This Beginner Web Development Bundle is a great place […]
The Fader Stealth Quadcopter from TRNDlabs packs incredible flight performance into a package small enough to land on your phone screen, and it’s available now in the Boing Boing Store.The Fader’s six-axis gyroscope module gives it perfect balance in the air. This makes the onboard 720p HD camera all the better for shooting amazing flight […]
Although fully autonomous vehicles aren’t yet allowed on public streets, they are poised to dominate the roads in the not-too-distant future. But before that happens, Apple, Google, Uber, and other companies now investing in self-driving tech are going to need talented developers that can account for the dizzying array of factors at play when a […]