The Data Protection Act: a stone to sling at the Facebook Goliath?
By Rhory Robertson and Sophie Pugh
When you log into Facebook, the first thing you see is your ‘newsfeed’: a seemingly random collection of messages, status updates and photographs posted by your Facebook friends. I say ‘seemingly random’ with scepticism because of course Facebook is not so rudimentary.
The recently reported and much criticised Facebook survey, which was carried out by Facebook researchers in 2012, deliberately manipulated almost 700,000 account-holder newsfeeds and monitored the results. The survey showed that those subjected to ‘happy’ newsfeeds were more likely to post happy messages themselves, and vice versa.
Critics are fuming at Facebook’s manipulation of its account holders’ emotions and for collecting information about individuals without their informed consent. While we all know that Facebook is a multi-billion corporate beast, and not our friend, the 2012 survey reminds us of our vulnerability online…
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Stephen Critchley and Robert Andrews describe what the alleged manipulation is; who may have suffered from it; and the ongoing investigations into it.
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