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Privacy group files complaint against Facebook for experimenting on users

The Electronic Privacy Information Centre claims Facebook “messed with people’s minds” when it conducted a psychological experiment on unsuspecting users.

Posted on July 4, 2014 at 5:35 p.m.

A non-profit privacy group has filed a formal complaint against Facebook, claiming the site “purposefully messed with people’s minds” when it conducted a psychological experiment on 700,000 users.

The study in question was a one-week experiment in 2012 where Facebook used an algorithm to see if it could manipulate the emotions of unsuspecting users, USA TODAY reports.

The complaint, filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Centre with the Federal Trade Commission, calls for an investigation of the experiment and for Facebook to reveal the algorithm it uses to decide users’ feeds.

“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,” the complaint alleges.

Sheryl Sandberg, a Facebook executive, apologized for the experiment Wednesday, July 2, saying it was “poorly communicated,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

What do you think? Did Facebook go too far with its experiment or was it justified? Do you think social media sites are transparent enough with their users?


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