9 July 2014
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Ramon Tremosa i Balcells (ALDE)
Subject: Facebook data
A total of 689 000 Facebook users were used as guinea-pigs in a week-long psychological study, without being asked whether they wanted to take part in it. The researchers were trying to establish whether a link exists between what Facebook users read on the social network and what they end up writing themselves. The study manipulated users’ timeline to see how they reacted when they read posts.
They found out that if users’ timelines filled up with negative posts from their friends, they tended to reflect the same tone in their posts. The possibility that users’ state of mind could be artificially altered by manipulating their timeline has a number of implications, such as whether a population group could be swayed prior to elections, or an audience held captive to ensure more time is spent visiting certain pages so as to increase advertising revenue.
In the light of the above, does the Commission intend to take action to protect the privacy of European users of Facebook?
What steps does it intend to take to prevent the mass manipulation of Europeans’ feelings?
Original language of question: ES
Last updated: 24 July 2014
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