Facebook apology: Sheryl Sandberg blames 'terrible' communication

Jul 02 2014, 18:07 IST
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A UK regulator has begun an inquiry into the Facebook experiment. A UK regulator has begun an inquiry into the Facebook experiment.
SummaryFacebook stirred global fury on privacy and protection of user data.

Apologising for bad communication on Facebook's newsfeed experiment, visiting Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg today said it was like any other test aimed at improving service quality for over 1.2 billion users.

Facebook conducted a study in January 2012 to see how the placement of positive or negative words in the news feeds of users affected their status updates.

The results of the study, conducted on 700,000 users, were published in an article in the journal 'Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences'.

This stirred a global debate on privacy and protection of user data.

"This was an experiment done for one week, this was communicated terribly and for that communication, we have apologised. This is part of the ongoing research that companies do to test different products," Sandberg told reporters here.

She added that Facebook, which is the world's largest social network with over 1.2 billion users, takes privacy and security very seriously. In India, Facebook has over 100 million users.

Previously, Facebook data scientist Adam Kramer, in a post, had also said the goal of Facebook's research is to learn how to provide a better service.

A UK regulator has begun an inquiry into the experiment to determine if the company broke data protection laws applicable in that country.

"We work very closely with the regulators all over the world ... we are fully compliant (with regulations) … (respect for data privacy) is the hallmark of our service, it is the underpinning of our service," Sandberg said.

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