July 1 The Information Commissioner's Office
(ICO) in the UK is investigating whether Facebook Inc
broke data protection laws when it allowed researchers to
conduct a psychological experiment on users of the social
network, the Financial Times reported.
The data regulator is probing the experiment and plans to
ask Facebook questions, the newspaper reported. It was too early
to tell exactly what part of the law Facebook may have
infringed, the FT quoted a spokesperson for the ICO as saying.
Facebook's psychological experiment on nearly 700,000
unwitting users in 2012 has caused a social-media furor. The
experiment was to find if Facebook could alter the emotional
state of its users and prompt them to post either more positive
or negative content.
Representatives for ICO and Facebook did not immediately
respond to emails seeking comment.
The ICO monitors how personal data is used and has the power
to force organizations to change their policies and levy fines
of up to 500,000 pounds ($839,500).
Internet privacy concerns shot up the agenda last year when
former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden
revealed details of mass U.S. surveillance programs involving
European citizens and some heads of state.
Last week, Google Inc said it has begun removing
some search results to comply with a European Union ruling
upholding citizens' right to have objectionable personal
information about them hidden in search engines.
($1 = 0.5956 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Supriya Kurane in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar