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Facebook’s Big Data Fail Spurs Call for More Ethics

Joe Mont | July 14, 2014

A recent flap over a controversial use of Big Data analyzation techniques by Facebook has once again spurred calls for the more ethical use of data-gathering tools by companies.

Earlier this month, Facebook drew fire for an “experiment” that studied how users’ news feeds could be manipulated to affect their moods.  The so-called “emotional contagion experiment” involved nearly 700,00 users, all of whom, according to Facebook, agreed to the privacy parameters set forth in its Terms of Use agreement that allow such tinkering.

With an apology, Facebook insisted it had considered the ethics of conducting the project. “The reason we did this research is because we care about the emotional impact of Facebook and the people that use our product,” Adam Kramer, one of the Facebook researchers involved in the study, said in a statement.


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