Date
20 November 2017
Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg blames poor communication for the fallout from a recent research into users' news feed behavior. Photo: Bloomberg
Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg blames poor communication for the fallout from a recent research into users' news feed behavior. Photo: Bloomberg

Facebook on experiment: Sorry, we won’t do it again

Facebook is trying to appease users, regulators and critics of its psychological experiment by promising not to do it again.

Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg came out to apologize and reassure the social network’s 1.3 billion users they will no longer be targeted as British regulators prepared to launch an investigation, according to the Financial Times.

The research found that if users saw a less positive content in their news feed, they wrote negative posts and vice versa.

Sandberg blamed the fallout from the study on poor communication.

She denied accusations the experiment was an attempt to control people’s emotions.

“Facebook certainly never wants to do anything that upsets users. It [the research] was communicated very badly,” she said told India’s NDTV during a visit to the country.

She described it as a “small one-week experiment” showing people different things to see how it works.

“What really matters here is that we take people’s privacy incredibly seriously,” she said.

On Tuesday, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner which oversees Facebook’s European operations because they are headquartered in Dublin, said it had sent the company a series of questions about the research. 

Also, British regulators said they are investigating whether the company breached data protection laws which set boundaries for how data can be collected and used.

The experiment, conducted on 700,000 users in 2012, has angered many who worry the information might be used inappropriately. The results were published earlier this year.

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