NS Facebook Last Tuesday (3) banned the personal accounts of academics from New York University who researched transparency and misinformation on the social network.
The platform justified the decision by saying that the group did not respect the special rules data scraping and created the privacy of its users. Researchers say they have been silenced for exposing the company’s problems.
Facebook also removed academics’ access to APIs, a set of tools used to share social networking data with other services, disable access to certain apps, and removed pages linked to a survey.
“We have repeatedly made our privacy concerns clear to NYU, but their researchers have decided not to take them into account,” a Facebook spokesperson told G1.
The researchers are part of a project called the New York University Advertising Observatory, which is asking for this Volunteers download an extension for web browsers that collects data about political ads they see on Facebook.
Part of this information is made publicly available through the social network through a resource called “Ad library“. although, Data indicating why the user sees that the ad was not disclosed in this tool – One of the information collected by the survey.
Laura Edelson, a researcher involved in the project whose personal account was banned by Facebook, said the company wants to end an independent investigation of its platform.
“Facebook uses user privacy, a core belief we always put first in our work, as an excuse to do so,” he said in a statement sent to Bloomberg.
The social network has already been involved in controversies related to the collection of information by third parties on its platform – most notoriously being the case Cambridge Analytica, which used an app to collect private information from 87 million users without their knowledge.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) fined Facebook $5 billion in the case and demanded new privacy controls.
The company said it was necessary to restrict researchers at New York University due to the FTC’s guidelines, something academics oppose.
Watch Facebook’s position on the issue in full:
“We have repeatedly made our privacy concerns clear to NYU, but their researchers decided not to take them into account and instead continued to extract people data and ads from our platform. We offer researchers the opportunity to use our transparency tools in ways that do not violate our terms and that contain appropriate privacy protections. We have no choice but to disable researchers’ access to developer tools, as well as their accounts and apps. We welcome academic studies to our platform, but we don’t accept that they are being conducted on people’s privacy.” Facebook spokesperson
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