NDTV Exclusive: Facebook Cannot Control Emotions of Users, Says COO Sheryl Sandberg

NDTV Exclusive: Facebook Cannot Control Emotions of Users, Says COO Sheryl Sandberg

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We hope users understand that we care about their privacy: Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg

New Delhi Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg today admitted that the social networking giant had communicated poorly on a controversial psychological experiment, but denied any attempt to control the emotions of users.   

In an exclusive interview to NDTV, Ms Sandberg, who is visiting India, emphasised that Facebook takes the privacy of users very seriously. "We communicated very badly on the emotions study... We hope users understand that we care about their privacy...We want to be transparent and give users control," she said. (Also Read: Facebook COO on Her Favourite Post by PM Modi)

The experiment she said "was small, over one week" conducted in a way that protected privacy. (Highlights of her interview)

There has been global anger over the study that Facebook conducted in 2012 on the emotions of users without their knowledge. Privacy activists and regulators in some countries have alleged that Facebook manipulated feeds to try and control users' emotions.

Ms Sandberg emphatically denied this. "Facebook cannot control emotions of users. Facebook will not control emotions of users," she said.  

A UK regulator is now reportedly investigating whether Facebook broke data protection laws when it allowed its researchers to conduct the experiment on its users. Reuters reports that the experiment was conducted on nearly 700,000 unwitting users in 2012 and was intended to find if Facebook could alter the emotional state of its users and prompt them to post either more positive or negative content. (UK Data Regulator Probes Facebook Over Psychological Experiment: Report)

Ms Sandberg said her company was "talking to regulators around the world."

Story First Published: July 02, 2014 14:54 IST

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