Though Facebook conducted its fairly controversial study in 2012, details of the experiment have only recently been released. A few days have passed since Facebook revealed details about how it manipulated users timelines for a psychological study, but controversies surrounding the experiment is still up in the air, so much so that UK regulators are now looking into the social network’s actions.
The Wall Street Journal has revealed that UK regulators responsible for enforcing the UK’s Data Protection Act, the Information Commissioner’s Office, is preparing to question the social network about the experiment and will also be involving its counterpart in the Irish government, due to Facebook’s European base being located in Dublin.
Facebook have revealed that they took the necessary measures to ensure that the “appropriate protections,” were carried out to protect users personal information, but are prepared to comply with the UK’s investigations, said Facebook’s director of policy in Europe, Richard Allan.
According to the Financial Times, the Information Commissioner’s Office is keen to find out whether any UK citizens were among the almost 700,000 users that unwillingly participated in the psychological study and want to know what safeguards were in place when it came to ensuring users data and information weren’t revealed. If the social network is found to have infringed UK law Facebook will be required to change its policies and could be slapped with a fat fine of around £500,000.
Since information of the experiment was released, Facebook have tried to justify their actions with the study’s co-author Andy Kramer writing; “we care about the emotional impact of Facebook and the people that use our product,” but at the same time apologised for “any anxiety it caused.”
You can read more about the experiment as well as Andy Kramer’s explanation behind the study here.