Privacy Group Files Formal Complaint with Feds Over Facebook's Mood Study

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The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC,) which advocates for digital privacy, has filed a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission over the 2012 Facebook mood manipulation study. EPIC claims Facebook violated laws when it conducted this experiment, as users did not know they were being studied, and did not give their consent. 

The formal complaint states, "At the time of the experiment, Facebook did not state in the Data Use Policy that user data would be used for research purposes. Facebook also failed to inform users that their personal information would be shared with researchers." 

While Facebook has not issued an apology for the experiment itself, they were quick to reply to EPIC's formal complaint. "When someone signs up for Facebook, we've always asked permission to use their information to provide and enhance the services we offer. To suggest we conducted any corporate research without permission is complete fiction," Facebook said in a statement."Companies that want to improve their services use the information their customers provide, whether their privacy policy uses the word 'research' or not."

Another advocacy organization may join EPIC in calling for an FTC investigation. Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, is speaking with the FTC next week in regards to the study. Facebook is already under investigation across the pond in Britain. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.