The social media giant, Facebook, is now in federal hot water after they have allegedly abused their rights in conducting an emotional manipulation experiment with 689,003 users in 2012 without seeking proper approval prior to the commencement of the experiment.
Senator Mark Warner filed a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission questioning the corporate ethics of the company, as well as their transparency and accountability in this manner. He has flagged serious concerns on the future studies in this misuse of rights, which may occur anytime without any form of notice to the user.
In that experiment, Facebook presumably worked on the emotions of these users based on event triggers to see how can they be controlled based on the outcomes. This has received widespread anger and frustration from the users as well as Senator Warner himself because the emotional wellbeing of the public at large is at risk.
This was further reinforced by National Academy of Sciences of America’s press release in which they have questioned the consistency of the practices that was enforced on obtaining informed consent on the use of the Linguistics Inquiry Word Count (LIWC2007) tool, which was used to manipulate and observe the emotions of the user in the experiments.
Much to the dismay of the public, Facebook has shown no remorse in the activities and even attributed the public outrage to a misrepresentation of the agreement which makes the emotional experiments seem trivial and deemed the concern of misuse uncalled for. This was echoed across several major leaders in Facebook, which includes the Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg, who stated that this is what companies do.
Major disappointment there, Facebook.