Facebook Explains How It Uses Personal Information
There has been a growing concern over the collection of human data for corporate research by social networking giant Facebook. To put these concerns to rest Facebook has published details about how the website uses personal information of its subscribers for research purpose, a media report said.
Facebook collects data on roughly 1.6 billion users, which is used to determine behavioural patterns like voting habits, relationship status and effects of certain types of content on people, wsj.com reported on Tuesday.
Earlier it had sparked a controversy about the company’s ethics when it published a psychological study involving 700,000 persons in 2014. Because “the issues of how to deal with research in an industry setting aren’t unique to Facebook,” the company decided to release more details, said Molly Jackman, Facebook’s public policy research manager and co-author of the 2014 study.
It has set up a five-member panel that includes experts in law and ethics, to assess the ethical impact of its research efforts. If a manager determines that a research project deals with sensitive topics such as mental health, the study gets a detailed review by the group to weigh risks and benefits, as well as to consider whether it is in line with consumers’ expectations of how their information is stored, wsj.com said.
Managers can independently approve proposals that they see harmless. They will also have to decide which research gets a full review. The review group is modelled on the institutional review boards (IRBs) that assess the ethics of human subject research at academic institutions. Stanford University’s IRB manager Lauri Kanerva has been hired by Facebook to oversee its research review process.