Facebook’s ‘Emotional Contigent‘ program is being probed by British authorities and Irish authorities for violation of data protection laws.
Facebook was widely criticized after a Forbes report claimed that the social networking site had researched any change in users emotions by manipulating the posts. More than 700,000 posts of random users were manipulated to study the result of “emotional contagion” during the four-month program in 2012.
A spokesperson for the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said in a statement:
“We’re aware of this issue and will be speaking to Facebook, as well as liaising with the Irish data protection authority, to learn more about the circumstances.”
The report also caused concern after it was reported that Facebook has altered its Terms of Service after the experiment for the sake of its research. Facebook is likely to be charged with violation of agreement that is signed with the Irish Data protection Authority (DPA) which regulates the company’s data policies within the European Union. The Irish DPA headquartered in Dublin is waiting for a response from the social-networking site. Authorities in France are also investigating the violation done by the site.
Adam Kramer, a data scientist at Facebook mentioned in his Facebook post that the research was done in order to better understand the emotions of the people who use the site. Later, Kramer who had led the team conducting the study apologised on behalf of the company. Europe is seeking to tighten its data protection rules as the European Court of Justice ruled that Google should respond to users requests relating to removal of irrelevant links.