You might have heard about an experiment that Facebook conducted a while ago that attempted to manipulate the feelings of its users. There has been a lot of controversy regarding it with Facebook’s very own COO, Sheryl Sandberg stepping forward to offer an explanation regarding the experiment.
Apparently that wasn’t enough as the Electronic Privacy Information Center had asked the FTC to look into the matter, and now it looks like the FTC could be under even more pressure as Senator Mark Warner has sent an open letter to the FTC’s commissioners, asking them to investigate Facebook’s experiment and to “fully explore the potential ramifications.”
According to a press statement issued by Mark Warner, he writes, “I don’t know if Facebook’s manipulation of users’ news feeds was appropriate or not. But I think many consumers were surprised to learn they had given permission by agreeing to Facebook’s terms of service. And I think the industry could benefit from a conversation about what are the appropriate rules of the road going forward.”
It is unclear what the FTC will be doing from this point onwards, but Warner does not necessarily believe that they need to regulate the issue, but rather to assess the situation and see if they can help companies create their own best practices and internal regulations. Warner also wants to know on whether observing data should be treated the same as opposed to manipulating it, which is what Facebook had done.
This isn’t just about Facebook though, as Warner is hoping that the FTC’s answers will apply across the industry, but what do you guys think?