Menlo Park, CA — Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) — A scientific journal that distributed the discoveries of a secret trial loosed on 700,000 clueless Facebook users in order to study their mind-sets a year ago, yet which became visible this week, has enormous issues with the way it was led.
The findings were distributed in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, which said the study may have violated critical morals in the procedure of social and academic exploration.
Facebook researchers ran across that tweaking the substance of people’s “news feeds” made an “emotional contagion” across the social network, by which individuals who saw one emotion being communicated would themselves express similar emotions.
Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg offered an apology Wednesday, but some questioned it as too little, too late.
“This was part of ongoing research companies do to test different products, and that was what it was; it was poorly communicated,” she said earlier this week while on a trip New Delhi, India. “And for that communication we apologize. We never meant to upset you.”
The experiment was led without the knowledge of users and has brought on the debate in respect to whether it crossed a moral line, with paper’s distributors leading an examination. The UK’s information security watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office, is investigating the circumstances to check whether any UK laws were broken.
The details of the study were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in an article entitled “Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks.”