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Facebook Ethical Obligations


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Ethical Obligations
When conducting scientific research, there must be a certain degree of disclosure, without having a serious impact on the authenticity of the test results, which allows people to know their role in the experiment. Facebook was responsible for notifying the group of users that were chosen to partake in the study and they should have been given the option to opt out. Companies cannot hide their intentions of doing research and testing under their terms and conditions. Facebook’s Data User Policy agreement is a full page of legalese that most users ignore and accept just so they can have access to the website. Prior to conducting research, a third party consultant should make sure that testing meets the company’s ethical, legal, and security guidelines. For example, academic research must be approved by an external Institutional Review Board.
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) publicly stated that the study did not breach any research guidelines. However, it did admit that some of the practices were not completely in agreement with how test subjects should consent to be part of a scientific study. After the serious backlash received by the online community and its users, Facebook reviewed the company’s research guidelines. The company stated that it will increase the amount of people who will review the research process. Researchers will receive extensive training to make sure that all testing meets the legal, privacy, and policy practices. Also, it will create a central site where data obtained from the academic research will be published and easily accessed by the users.

Albergotti, R., & Dwoskin, E. (2014, Jul 01). Facebook study spurs ethical questions. Wall Street Journal Retrieved from
Experiment angers facebook lab rats. (2014,

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