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ResourcesHuman Research EthicsCambridge University rejected Facebook study over ‘deceptive’ privacy standards – The Guardian (Matthew Weaver | April 2018)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Cambridge University rejected Facebook study over ‘deceptive’ privacy standards – The Guardian (Matthew Weaver | April 2018)

 


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Exclusive: panel told researcher Aleksandr Kogan that Facebook’s approach fell ‘far below ethical expectations’

A Cambridge University ethics panel rejected research by the academic at the centre of the Facebook data harvesting scandal over the social network’s “deceptive” approach to its users privacy, newly released documents reveal.

Perhaps, like us, you’ve been wondering what happened with the research ethics review of the initial data collection by Kogan (who is a researcher based at a UK university). That rumination may have deepened given Mark Zuckerberg’s reported testimony to the US Congress committee. But this latest revelation turns the story in a surprising direction. The work was in fact denied ethics approval by the Cambridge research ethics committee!

A 2015 proposal by Aleksandr Kogan, a member of the university’s psychology department, involved the personal data from 250,000 Facebook users and their 54 million friends that he had already gleaned via a personality quiz app in a commercial project funded by SCL, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica.

Separately, Kogan proposed an academic investigation on how Facebook likes are linked to “personality traits, socioeconomic status and physical environments”, according to an ethics application about the project released to the Guardian in response to a freedom of information request.
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The documents shed new light on suggestions from the Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, that the university’s controls on research did not meet Facebook’s own standards. In testimony to the US Congress earlier this month, Zuckerberg said he was concerned over Cambridge’s approach, telling a hearing: “What we do need to understand is whether there is something bad going on at Cambridge University overall, that will require a stronger action from us.”
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