NEWS2 July 2014

ICO to investigate Facebook over experiment

Legal Privacy UK

UK — The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is to investigate whether Facebook broke data protection laws when it allowed researchers to conduct an ‘emotional contagion’ experiment on unknowing users, the Financial Times has reported.

According to the story, the ICO plans to probe the experiment that has caused widespread outrage over claims that it manipulated Facebook users’ emotions without their knowledge. Subsequent stories have suggested that Facebook updated its user agreement to include research four months after the study was conducted. The regulator has said it would also contact the Irish data protection body, as Facebook’s European headquarters are located in Dublin.

A spokesperson for the ICO has reportedly said it is too early to tell exactly what part of the law Facebook may have infringed.