Facebook has been hit with an FTC complaint over its controversial study conducted on the emotions of users, allegedly without their consent.
What do Facebook users need to know about this FTC complaint?
Unauthorized Experiment or Innovation?
Facebook took a bit of a PR hit last week when media outlets publicized an experimental study secretly conducted on 689,003 Facebook users by researchers at Cornell University and the University of California San Francisco. Researchers studied how Facebook users were affected by slightly more depressing posts in their News Feeds.
A company purposely trying to depress hundreds of thousands of people? Strange. But critics were more steamed that this experiment wasn't part of Facebook's privacy or data policies. In response, Facebook mostly stood its ground, with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg explaining that the experiment was simply "poorly communicated," reports TechCrunch.
Violation of FTC Settlement Order?
But as the EPIC complaint alleges, this earlier FTC settlement "prohibits Facebook from misrepresenting the extent to which it maintains the privacy or security of covered information," especially when it is being given to third parties.
Sounds like Facebook may have some explaining to do before the FTC brings down the hammer.