The news is awash with reports that the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is “opening an investigation” into Facebook’s rather creepy research experiment, in conjunction with US universities, in which it apparently altered the users’ news feeds to elicit either positive or negative emotional responses. Thus, the BBC says “Facebook faces UK probe over emotion study”, SC Magazine says “ICO probes Facebook data privacy” and the Financial Times says “UK data regulator probes Facebook over psychological experiment”.
As well as prompting one to question some journalists’ obsession with probes, this also leads one to look at the basis for these stories. It appears to lie in a quote from an ICO spokesman, given I think originally to the online IT news outlet The Register
The Register asked the office of the UK’s Information Commissioner if it planned to probe Facebook following widespread criticism of its motives.“We’re aware of this issue, and will be speaking to Facebook, as well as liaising with the Irish data protection authority, to learn more about the circumstances,” a spokesman told us.
[set] up in a Member State a branch or subsidiary which is intended to promote and sell advertising space offered by that engine and which orientates its activity towards the inhabitants of that Member State