Facebook is to face investigation by the UK watchdog over manipulating the emotional content of posts of 700,000 users.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said it is investigating if Facebook violated any protection laws when it deliberately allowed researchers to conduct a psychological experiment on its users. The watchdog said it is planning to question Facebook over the study.
The matter started way back in 2012 when the social giant conducted a psychological experiment on nearly 700,000 users without their consent. The experiment was aimed at finding out if Facebook could alter users’ emotional state and prompt them to post either more positive or negative content.
As a part of the experiment, some of the users were sent mostly positive stories on their News Feed, while others were sent mostly negative stories. The researchers then monitored users’ posts and found that posts of users, who received the negative News Feed, contained more negative words and post of users, who received positive items, contained more positive words.
The social giant is being accused of violating users’ privacy rights as they claim that they were not informed of the experiment.
Facebook, however, has defended the research study saying that it has not collected people’s data for any unnecessary purpose. It said that appropriate protections for people’s information were taken during the experiment and that it is ready to answer all of the watchdog’s questions.