UK Launches Investigation into Facebook's Emotional Experiment

Facebook's experiment into what happens when to subscriber's moods when their timelines were manipulated to gauge their emotional state has caught the eye of UK regulators. The country's Information Commissioner's Office has started an investigation into Facebook's 2012 experiment to determine whether or not any laws were broken and if fines that could reach £500,000 should be imposed.

UK launches an investigation into Facebook's emotion experimentUK launches an investigation into Facebook's emotion experiment

News of the experiment surfaced in late June when researchers released the results of their efforts. The study results showed Facebook users who were exposed to primarily negative posts tended to be more negative themselves, and users who saw positive posts were more positive, too.

While Facebook contends it didn't do anything wrong, it also agreed to cooperate with the ICO investigation, according to the Financial Times.

"It's clear that people were upset by this study and we take responsibility for it," said Richard Allen, Facebook's Director of Policy for Europe. "We want to do better in the future and are improving our process based on this feedback."

The company stopped short of apologizing for manipulating subscriber's post streams without their knowledge.

The ICO is currently looking into how much personal information was used in the Facebook experiment, and which laws would apply to the company's actions. So far there haven't been any charges filed against the company, nor has the ICO said which laws it thinks Facebook may have broken.