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Facebook's new research guidelines don't impress the professionals

Zach Miners | Oct. 3, 2014
Researchers say Facebook has a ways to go yet toward injecting more transparency and ethics into its research practices.

Regardless, the amount of data posted on the Internet today surely has researchers of all types salivating. Twitter has invested US$10 million in a lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to let researchers study online social movements by looking at its firehose of public tweets.

Some experts called Facebook's new guidelines a decent first step forward toward improving its research practices, though not a huge leap.

"This is a step forward," said Julia Horwitz, an attorney at the Washington, D.C.-based Electronic Privacy Information Center, which previously lodged a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over Facebook's "mood study."

"But it's not significant enough of a step where if we saw a repeat of that study, that I would be surprised," she said.

 

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