Daily Management Review

Facebook Collects Users’ Information For Corporate Research Purpose


The controversy over Facebook’s ethics, prompted the company to set up an experts’ panel.

According to a “media report”, Facebook, the giant of social networking, has published the detail steps regarding treatment of the personal data of Facebook users, whereby the company shows how it uses the “personal information of its subscribers for research purpose”.
At present, the approximate users of Facebook amounts to about “1.6 billion”, while the Facebook collects the data fed into their social network by the respective users and processes the same to “determine behavioural patterns like voting habits, relationship status and effects of certain types of content on people”.
The ethics of the company was put in question following a “psychological study” that was published by Facebook in the year of 2014. The same study which involved “7,00,000 persons” ignited a controversy. Therefore, the company “decided to release more details”, as “the issues of how to deal with research in an industry setting aren't unique to Facebook”, clarified Public-Policy Research Manager at Facebook, Molly Jackman, who also co-authored the study of 2014.
In an attempt to evaluate the “ethical impact” of the research conducted by Facebook, the company had created a panel consisting of five experts, who specialised in various fields including “law and ethics”.
Moreover, TOI reports, as per wsj.com:
“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”.
The authority to approve a research proposal if it appears harmless lies in the power of managers, while they are left to their experienced capacity to judge the proposals; while, they are also in possession of the deciding authority as to “which research gets a full review”.
Furthermore, TOI adds:
“The review group is modelled on the institutional review boards (IRBs) that assess the ethics of human-subject research at academic institutions. Facebook has hired Stanford University's IRB manager Lauri Kanerva to oversee its research review process”.

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