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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