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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Facebook experiment becomes a debate over power and consent
Facebook experiment becomes a debate over power and consent

When Facebook performed an experiment to see if it could secretly affect users' emotions, were you really surprised? Academics were galled, knowing they would need explicit permission from research subjects and strict ethical oversight to perform such an experiment. A privacy group filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, the journal that published the study later expressed concern, and some European nations began an investigation. But many Facebook users responded with a shrug, having long accepted that targeted ads and extensive data collection are permanent features of life online. In the 21st century, user participation has come to equal user consent, a social...

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