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Concerning Facebook emotion study

Request to:
Facebook (emotion study)
Law used:
Facebook Emotion Study campaign (Bastian Greshake)
Status of this request:
Request awaits classification
Summary of Request
My personal account that requesting your response about: https://web.facebook.com/mr.chaos1

Messages in this request

From << Name Not Public >>
Subject Concerning Facebook emotion study [#126]
Date March 14, 2017, 7:06 a.m.
To Facebook (emotion study)
Status Awaiting response

Dear Facebook, I wish to get access to some of my personal data, as envisioned by the US/EU Privacy Shield arrangement, and more specifically personal data that relates to the Facebook Emotional Manipulation Experiment, conducted on January 11th-18th 2012. I trust that you are familiar with the experiment. Some of its results have been published in collaboration with Cornell researchers, in 2014. I quote here a selection of sentences from the article eventually published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), at http://www.pnas.org/content/111/24/8788.full PNAS 01: In an experiment with people who use Facebook, we test whether emotional contagion occurs outside of in-person interaction between individuals by reducing the amount of emotional content in the News Feed. PNAS 02: When positive expressions were reduced, people produced fewer positive posts and more negative posts; when negative expressions were reduced, the opposite pattern occurred. PNAS 03: These results indicate that emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions, constituting experimental evidence for massive-scale contagion via social networks. PNAS 04: The experiments took place for 1 week (January 11–18, 2012). PNAS 05: Participants were randomly selected based on their User ID, resulting in a total of ∼155,000 participants per condition who posted at least one status update during the experimental period. PNAS 06: The experiment manipulated the extent to which people (N = 689,003) were exposed to emotional expressions in their News Feed. PNAS 07: Two parallel experiments were conducted for positive and negative emotion: One in which exposure to friends’ positive emotional content in their News Feed was reduced, and one in which exposure to negative emotional content in their News Feed was reduced. PNAS 08: In these conditions, when a person loaded their News Feed, posts that contained emotional content of the relevant emotional valence, each emotional post had between a 10% and 90% chance (based on their User ID) of being omitted from their News Feed for that specific viewing. PNAS 09: Both experiments had a control condition, in which a similar proportion of posts in their News Feed were omitted entirely at random (i.e., without respect to emotional content). All told, the following is clear: Facebook conducted two experiments (one in the positive direction, one in the negative direction). Each experiment needed both a control group and an experimental group. This makes for four groups in total. Each participant in each experimental group and each control group was itself affected to a different degree: between 10% and 90% of posts with the relevant valence were withheld (in the control groups, this was done randomly). PNAS 05 and 06 taken together make it clear that Facebook based its eventual analysis on having 155k people in each of those four groups. I think I might have posted multiple times on Facebook during that week. This leaves many possibilities: I could or could not have been part of one of the two experiments. If I was, I could have been in a control or treatment group, and in both cases between 10% and 90% of my newsfeed might have been altered (randomly or discriminately). As part of Facebook's obligations regarding personal data access under the Privacy Shield arrangement, I seek to know: - whether my profile was eventually included in any of the categories documented in the research paper; - whether my profile was part of the positive or the negative experiment; - whether my profile was part of an experimental or control group; - if part of the experiment, what was the chance that posts would be withheld from my newsfeed. I insist that I seek to get access to my personal data, and NOT additional generic information about this experiment or more generally the research conducted at Facebook or the procedures governing that research. I do not wish, at least with this exchange, to opt out of any experimenting by Facebook or to allege that any of this was illegal (although I reserve the possibility to do so at a later time). It is my understanding that Paul-Olivier Dehaye has successfully requested this information through sheer perseverance, but his efforts required raising the issue all the way to the TRUSTe Arbitrator designated by Facebook (possibly at some expense to Facebook, but completely free to Dehaye, as mandated by the TRUSTe rules and the legal arrangement that was available at the time, Safe Harbor). Eventually, the response he got was as follows: "As part of Facebook’s investigation into this matter, specific data tables related to the research program at issue, were identified. We conducted technical queries for data related to Mr. Dehaye’s account, and those queries did not yield any corresponding data. Therefore, Facebook confirmed that it has no records associated with Mr Dehaye’s account in respect of this research and that it does not believe that his account was involved in that research." I ask that Facebook investigate this matter in my case with the same level of diligence as in Dehaye's case, and additionally describe in its response to me the process it has followed with the same level of detail. It is also my understanding that Bastian Greshake, another PersonalData.IO user, has obtained the following response: "Having made a reasonable inquiry of our records, we can confirm that we do not hold any data responding to your requests." Not content with that legalese ("what is a reasonable inquiry?"), Greshake is now asking for a more precise description of the precise steps taken by Facebook to prepare this response. However, Greshake seems to be seeking to resolve the issue without going through a TRUSTe Arbitration. He claims to be doing so in the interest of other US companies actually seeking to comply with Privacy Shield. You can see the exchange between Greshake and Facebook here: http://www.personaldata.io/request/access-to-personal-data-related-to-the-emotional-manipulation-experiment-1/ When evaluating my request, I ask that any argument advanced by Greshake on that page be taken in consideration, if it helps access my personal data or increase the level of detail in the response. Of course I reserve the right to diverge at any point and at my discretion from Greshake's argumentation (itself relying on Dehaye's), and do request that my own procedure be considered wholly separate from Greshake's for the purpose of evaluating the deadlines for responses. I of course also fully reserve the right to use one or many of the multiple recourse mechanisms at my own disposal, which might differ from Greshake's. You will find my Facebook identifier below my signature. I suppose you will want to validate the link between my identity on PersonalData.IO and this particular request. I suggest for this purpose that you reply through this channel with some semi-formal text confirming the authenticity of the PersonalData.IO request, which I could then copy/paste into a Facebook post. I do however ask that for all matters beyond authenticating this request you communicate with me through PersonalData.IO. I trust that you are aware of all relevant legal deadlines for responding to the request, and will respect them.
My personal account that requesting your response about: https://web.facebook.com/mr.chaos1
[... Show complete request text] Kind Regards, << Name Not Public >>
  1. 7 months, 1 week agoMarch 14, 2017, 7:17 a.m.: << Name Not Public >> sent a message to Facebook (emotion study).
From Facebook – Facebook (emotion study)
Subject Re: Concerning Facebook emotion study [#126]
Date March 14, 2017, 7:20 a.m.

Hi, Thanks for contacting Facebook. The form you submitted is only for questions relating to Facebook's participation in the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework. If your question relates to the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, we'll review your submission and respond accordingly. If you have a privacy question that doesn't relate to the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework, you can visit the Privacy Help Center page: https://www.facebook.com/help/2383181... The information on this page can help resolve many privacy-related questions, which include: - Controlling Your Privacy Settings - Controlling Who Can Find You - Privacy Policies and Internet Safety - Privacy Settings by Feature This page will also help you reach the team that is best equipped to answer your specific privacy question. For all other questions, please see the Help Center: https://www.facebook.com/help Thanks, Facebook
  1. 7 months, 1 week agoMarch 14, 2017, 7:20 a.m.: Received an email from Facebook (emotion study).
From << Name Not Public >>
Subject Re: Re: Concerning Facebook emotion study [#126]
Date March 14, 2017, 7:37 a.m.
To Facebook (emotion study)

Dear Sir or Madam, Thank you for your quick interaction and response. I hope that you will take in consideration my request. Looking forward for your response. Sincerely yours << Name removed >> << Name removed >> Request Number: 126 Reply To: <<email address>> P ost Address: << Name removed >> << Name removed >> << Address removed >>
-- Legal Note: This mail was sent through a Data Protection Portal. Replies might be published automatically.
  1. 7 months, 1 week agoMarch 14, 2017, 7:37 a.m.: << Name Not Public >> sent a message to Facebook (emotion study).
From Facebook – Facebook (emotion study)
Subject Re: Re: Re: Concerning Facebook emotion study [#126]
Date March 14, 2017, 7:40 a.m.

Hi, Thanks for contacting Facebook. The form you submitted is only for questions relating to Facebook's participation in the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework. If your question relates to the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, we'll review your submission and respond accordingly. If you have a privacy question that doesn't relate to the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework, you can visit the Privacy Help Center page: https://www.facebook.com/help/2383181... The information on this page can help resolve many privacy-related questions, which include: - Controlling Your Privacy Settings - Controlling Who Can Find You - Privacy Policies and Internet Safety - Privacy Settings by Feature This page will also help you reach the team that is best equipped to answer your specific privacy question. For all other questions, please see the Help Center: https://www.facebook.com/help Thanks, Facebook
  1. 7 months, 1 week agoMarch 14, 2017, 7:40 a.m.: Received an email from Facebook (emotion study).
  2. 7 months, 1 week agoMarch 14, 2017, 7:50 a.m.: << Name Not Public >> made the request 'Concerning Facebook emotion study' public.
On March 14, 2017, 10:31 a.m., Paul-Olivier Dehaye wrote:

You might want to look at this: http://www.personaldata.io/request/access-to-personal-data-related-to-the-emotional-manipulation-experiment-1/ Facebook claims to now have deleted the relevant data. Read all

Write a comment
From Facebook – Facebook (emotion study)
Subject Re: Concerning Facebook emotion study [#126]
Date May 3, 2017, 1:50 p.m.

Dear Mr. << Name removed >> Thank you for your email. We have reviewed your query and can now confirm that user personal data relating to the study cited in your query has been deleted prior to the receipt of your request for the same, in accordance with Facebook's standard deletion protocols. As such, Facebook does not hold any personal data about you relevant to your request. Should you require any further detail on what data Facebook collects about you and how you can access it, please do review the following links: * https://www.facebook.com/about/privacy * https://www.facebook.com/help/accessy... We trust that this satisfies your query. However, should you require further information, please do not hesitate to reach out to us again. For your information, you are also entitled to contact the Office of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, Canal House, Station Road, Portarlington, Co. Laois, Ireland with any concerns you may have. Yours sincerely Alex Privacy Operations Facebook -----Original Message---- From: << Name removed >> << Name removed >> <<email address>> To: Facebook Subject: Concerning Facebook emotion study [#126] Dear Facebook, I wish to get access to some of my personal data, as envisioned by the US/EU Privacy Shield arrangement, and more specifically personal data that relates to the Facebook Emotional Manipulation Experiment, conducted on January 11th-18th 2012. I trust that you are familiar with the experiment. Some of its results have been published in collaboration with Cornell researchers, in 2014. I quote here a selection of sentences from the article eventually published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), at http://www.pnas.org/content/111/24/87... PNAS 01: In an experiment with people who use Facebook, we test whether emotional contagion occurs outside of in-person interaction between individuals by reducing the amount of emotional content in the News Feed. PNAS 02: When positive expressions were reduced, people produced fewer positive posts and more negative posts; when negative expressions were reduced, the opposite pattern occurred. PNAS 03: These results indicate that emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions, constituting experimental evidence for massive-scale contagion via social networks. PNAS 04: The experiments took place for 1 week (January 11–18, 2012). PNAS 05: Participants were randomly selected based on their User ID, resulting in a total of ∼155,000 participants per condition who posted at least one status update during the experimental period. PNAS 06: The experiment manipulated the extent to which people (N = 689,003) were exposed to emotional expressions in their News Feed. PNAS 07: Two parallel experiments were conducted for positive and negative emotion: One in which exposure to friends’ positive emotional content in their News Feed was reduced, and one in which exposure to negative emotional content in their News Feed was reduced. PNAS 08: In these conditions, when a person loaded their News Feed, posts that contained emotional content of the relevant emotional valence, each emotional post had between a 10% and 90% chance (based on their User ID) of being omitted from their News Feed for that specific viewing. PNAS 09: Both experiments had a control condition, in which a similar proportion of posts in their News Feed were omitted entirely at random (i.e., without respect to emotional content). All told, the following is clear: Facebook conducted two experiments (one in the positive direction, one in the negative direction). Each experiment needed both a control group and an experimental group. This makes for four groups in total. Each participant in each experimental group and each control group was itself affected to a different degree: between 10% and 90% of posts with the relevant valence were withheld (in the control groups, this was done randomly). PNAS 05 and 06 taken together make it clear that Facebook based its eventual analysis on having 155k people in each of those four groups. I think I might have posted multiple times on Facebook during that week. This leaves many possibilities: I could or could not have been part of one of the two experiments. If I was, I could have been in a control or treatment group, and in both cases between 10% and 90% of my newsfeed might have been altered (randomly or discriminately). As part of Facebook's obligations regarding personal data access under the Privacy Shield arrangement, I seek to know: - whether my profile was eventually included in any of the categories documented in the research paper; - whether my profile was part of the positive or the negative experiment; - whether my profile was part of an experimental or control group; - if part of the experiment, what was the chance that posts would be withheld from my newsfeed. I insist that I seek to get access to my personal data, and NOT additional generic information about this experiment or more generally the research conducted at Facebook or the procedures governing that research. I do not wish, at least with this exchange, to opt out of any experimenting by Facebook or to allege that any of this was illegal (although I reserve the possibility to do so at a later time). It is my understanding that Paul-Olivier Dehaye has successfully requested this information through sheer perseverance, but his efforts required raising the issue all the way to the TRUSTe Arbitrator designated by Facebook (possibly at some expense to Facebook, but completely free to Dehaye, as mandated by the TRUSTe rules and the legal arrangement that was available at the time, Safe Harbor). Eventually, the response he got was as follows: "As part of Facebook’s investigation into this matter, specific data tables related to the research program at issue, were identified. We conducted technical queries for data related to Mr. Dehaye’s account, and those queries did not yield any corresponding data. Therefore, Facebook confirmed that it has no records associated with Mr Dehaye’s account in respect of this research and that it does not believe that his account was involved in that research." I ask that Facebook investigate this matter in my case with the same level of diligence as in Dehaye's case, and additionally describe in its response to me the process it has followed with the same level of detail. It is also my understanding that Bastian Greshake, another PersonalData.IO user, has obtained the following response: "Having made a reasonable inquiry of our records, we can confirm that we do not hold any data responding to your requests." Not content with that legalese ("what is a reasonable inquiry?"), Greshake is now asking for a more precise description of the precise steps taken by Facebook to prepare this response. However, Greshake seems to be seeking to resolve the issue without going through a TRUSTe Arbitration. He claims to be doing so in the interest of other US companies actually seeking to comply with Privacy Shield. You can see the exchange between Greshake and Facebook here: http://www.personaldata.io/request/ac... When evaluating my request, I ask that any argument advanced by Greshake on that page be taken in consideration, if it helps access my personal data or increase the level of detail in the response. Of course I reserve the right to diverge at any point and at my discretion from Greshake's argumentation (itself relying on Dehaye's), and do request that my own procedure be considered wholly separate from Greshake's for the purpose of evaluating the deadlines for responses. I of course also fully reserve the right to use one or many of the multiple recourse mechanisms at my own disposal, which might differ from Greshake's. You will find my Facebook identifier below my signature. I suppose you will want to validate the link between my identity on PersonalData.IO and this particular request. I suggest for this purpose that you reply through this channel with some semi-formal text confirming the authenticity of the PersonalData.IO request, which I could then copy/paste into a Facebook post. I do however ask that for all matters beyond authenticating this request you communicate with me through PersonalData.IO. I trust that you are aware of all relevant legal deadlines for responding to the request, and will respect them. My personal account that requesting your response about: https://web.facebook.com/mr.chaos1 << Name removed >> << Name removed >> <<email address>> Post Address: << Name removed >> << Name removed >> << Address removed >>
-- Legal Note: This mail was sent through a Data Protection Portal. Replies might be published automatically. -----End Original Message-----
  1. 5 months, 2 weeks agoMay 3, 2017, 1:51 p.m.: Received an email from Facebook (emotion study).