Facebook Emotion Study Breached Ethical Guidelines, Researchers Say

Lack of 'informed consent' means that Facebook experiment on nearly 700,000 news feeds broke rules on tests on human subjects, say scientists
Facebook Emotion Study Breached Ethical Guidelines, Researchers Say

Image Credits: spencereholtaway / Flickr

by Charles Arthur | The Guardian | June 30, 2014


Researchers have roundly condemned Facebook’s experiment in which it manipulated nearly 700,000 users’ news feeds to see whether it would affect their emotions, saying it breaches ethical guidelines for “informed consent”.

James Grimmelmann, professor of law at the University of Maryland, points in an extensive blog post that “Facebook didn’t give users informed consent” to allow them to decide whether to take part in the study, under US human subjects research.

“The study harmed participants,” because it changed their mood, Grimmelmann comments, adding “This is bad, even for Facebook.”

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