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We communicated poorly: Facebook responds to the News Feed controversy

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Facebook has been  facing user ire after it transpired that the company had secretly manipulated the News Feeds of around 700,000 users for its study about “emotional contagion.” In the study, Facebook disclosed how Facebook emotions can be contagious among users. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in the UK is now reportedly probing the issue to investigate whether Facebook broke data protection laws. 

In her recent visit to India, while talking about various issues in an interview with NDTV, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg also clarified that the company takes user privacy very seriously. She said the company communicated very badly on the emotions study, and said they are now talking to regulators across the world.

She further said that Facebook cares about users’ privacy and hopes that users people understand it. Sandberg spoke about how Facebook wants to transparent when it comes to privacy and give its users utmost control. It doesn’t want to do anything that upsets users. “We know we’re impacted by what people share on Facebook and will comply with all laws,” she said.  She added that Facebook is working very hard towards minimising fake profiles.

The study was conducted in 2012 along with Cornell University, and the University of California at San Francisco. It appeared in the June 17 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and has since been explained in detail by Facebook too.

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