FTC Shuts Down Facebook’s Claim For Stopping NYU Research

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Facebook drew scathing criticism from The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for claiming that a consent decree issued by the organization was the reason it had to shut down New York University’s Ad Observatory.

The social media giant faced heavy criticism this week after shutting down the accounts of researchers working for the Ad Observatory project, allowing Facebook users to download a browser plugin that allowed researchers to observe the type of ads that appear on a user’s page.

Mike Clark, Facebook’s head of product management, defended the decision to end the project, arguing that it violated the site’s terms of use and a privacy program listed in a recent FTC order.

Samuel Levine, executive director of the FTC’s bureau of consumer protection, said Facebook was wrong to say its decision had anything to do with the FTC.

Levine argued that the consent decree did not prevent Facebook from making exceptions for “good-faith research in the public interest,” adding that the FTC “supports efforts to shed light on opaque business practices, especially around surveillance-based advertising.”

NYU researchers Laura Edelson and Damon McCoy are still fighting to have their Facebook accounts reinstated so they can continue their work tracking political advertising on the platform.

For more information, read the original story in ZDNet.


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