Facebook is changing the way it does research after facing a widespread backlash for a study that manipulated news feeds to gauge emotional effect.
The world's largest social network said Thursday that it was making several changes after spending the last three months reviewing its processes.
"We're committed to doing research to make Facebook better, but we want to do it in the most responsible way," Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer said in a blog post.
Facebook does research in fields including artificial intelligence, user experience and social science. Its new rules for research cover internal work and research that might be published.
They include clearer guidelines and an enhanced review process before research can begin; a new review panel that consists of senior subject-area researchers and people from its engineering, research, legal, privacy and policy teams; better training for researchers; and a dedicated research website that will be updated regularly.
The new policies are being instituted following a controversial Facebook study published in June that revealed the company had tinkered with users' emotions.
To conduct the research, for one week in 2012, hundreds of thousands of Facebook users were unknowingly subjected to an experiment in which their news feeds were altered to see whether certain kinds of content made them happy or sad.
The result, published in an academic journal, said emotions appeared to be contagious: If users saw happier posts from their friends, they were more likely to post their own happy updates. If they saw sad posts, they were more likely to post their own sad updates.
Scores of users were infuriated by the study, with many accusing the social network of engaging in creepy behavior.