Facebook's second policy change this week involves News Feed fiddling

Testing, testing

Facebook Research

Facebook has really been in hot water lately.

The social network already apologized once this week for alienating the LGBT community with its bullheaded real name policy.

Now the house that Zuck built is serving crow for dinner once again, this time over the News Feed fiddling the company revealed back in June.

Facebook had been messing with people's News Feeds to examine how its users react to different types of posts, an act that Facebook Chief Technical Officer Mike Schroepfer has now (more or less) apologized for.

Full disclosure

The issue for many Facebook users is that they had never consciously agreed to be the subject of such an experiment, even if it was relatively harmless.

"It is clear now that there are things we should have done differently," Schroepfer wrote in Facebook's Newsroom. "For example, we should have considered other non-experimental ways to do this research. The research would also have benefited from more extensive review by a wider and more senior group of people. Last, in releasing the study, we failed to communicate clearly why and how we did it."

He outlined Facebook's new research policies, which include clearer guidelines for researchers, more extensive research project reviews, more training for Facebook employees, and a public-facing research website.

"We're committed to doing research to make Facebook better, but we want to do it in the most responsible way," Schroepfer wrote.

Facebook may be on the right track, unless this is an experiment too. Now if only they'd put Messenger back where it belongs.

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