Academic research typically has ethics by design yet the recently published Facebook study has managed to short circuit the typical weights and balances expected to be applied. There are corporate style non apologies from an author of the paper and even Facebook’s COO uses a ‘nothing to see here’ approach.
Close to 700,000 Facebook users were in a study which most academics would agree requires some de-brief. Facebook seems to want the story to disappear and is not forthcoming with any more information nor informing users who was part of the study. For those in the EU you might want to use your rights and send off the template below to firstname.lastname@example.org and find out if you was part of the study.
To whom it may concern.
I wish to make an access request under the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003 for a copy of any information you keep about me, on computer or in manual form that pertains the following.
- Was my account included in the experiment recently published ‘Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks’ between January 11–18, 2012.
- If I was included in the study, which group was my account included (Positive, Negative or Control)
I am making this request under section 4 of the Data Protection Acts.
- My name: [NAME]
- My e-mail: [EMAIL]
- My birthdate: [DOB]