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BizReport : Law & Regulation : July 04, 2014

ISBA fears Facebook faux pas may damage advertisers' trust

Unless you've been living under a rock you will have heard the uproar caused by Facebook's recent 'social experiment'. As well as damaging users' faith in the social network the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) fears that brand owners' trust may also been affected.

by Helen Leggatt

According to the ISBA, Facebook is going to have to work hard to regain and retain trust from its users and advertisers in the wake of a social experiment that aimed to gauge user behavior by altering news feeds.

Over 600,000 Facebook users were unknowingly involved in the psychological experiment, having their news feeds altered in respect of negative or positive posts from friends.

"Facebook has done the right thing by accepting responsibility quickly. But revelations about this 'social experiment' could be damaging to the way many of its users view the service," says David Ellison, ISBA's Marketing Services Manager. "Advertisers and brand owners will fear that this careless abuse of trust may tarnish them by association."

Facebook is currently facing investigation by the Information Commissioners Office in the UK. The data regulator will decide whether the social network breached data protection laws.

In the U.S., the Electronic Privacy Information Center has also filed a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission claiming Facebook was in breach of the law by conducting the experiment without user consent or knowledge.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: advertising, law and regulation, social network

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