UK Regulator Is Investigating Facebook's Emotional Manipulation Study

Wednesday, July 02, 2014 - 11:58 AM

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A UK regulator is looking into whether Facebook's emotional manipulation study violated data protection laws. 

The Information Commissioner's Office is the responsible regulator -- a spokesman told Reuters that while they weren't sure which laws would have been broken, they're currently talking to both Facebook and Ireland's data protection authority (Facebook's European headquarters are located in Ireland.)

Elsewhere, reporters have dug out more details that, frankly, make the ethical foundation for the study seem shakier. For instance, Facebook argued that while the company didn't have explicit consent from its users to conduct the study, a line in their Terms of Service that said users' data could be used for 'research' amounted to consent. Forbes' Kashmir Hill found that Facebook actually added that line four months after the actual study began. 

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