EPIC Asks FTC and EDPB to Suspend Transfer of Facebook User Data to Social Science One

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EPIC has sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission and the European Data Protection Board urging the suspension of a proposed study that will disclose user data to third parties without their consent. EPIC warned that the Social Science One project transfer likely violates the GDPR, as well as the FTC’s 2011 Consent Order with Facebook, which bars Facebook from disclosing data to third parties without users’ affirmative consent. The FTC announced in April that Facebook is under investigation over the transfer of personal data to Cambridge Analytica, a research organization affiliated with a prestigious university. In 2012, Facebook conducted a psychological experiment on its users by secretly manipulating their news feeds to examine the effects of social media on user emotions. The study was suspended after objections from EPIC, professional societies, and others. The Guardian reported that the “lack of ‘informed consent’ means that Facebook experiment on nearly 700,000 news feeds broke rules on tests on human subjects.”


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