Facebook is sorry, about a lot of things lately.
Their PR team is on overdrive trying to amend the social media giant’s recent missteps. With the looming threat of s budding social media enemy in Ello—or at least the fact that Ello gained Internet fame because people are tired of Facebook—the world’s leading social network has been acting quickly to calm the waters and win back the good graces of users.
After the LGBTQ community expressed outrage in the past couple weeks for having their accounts blocked for using stage names, Facebook Chief Product Officer Christopher Cox posted an apology Wednesday, promising to change the identification policy so they can use their names.
In the two weeks since the real-name policy issues surfaced, we’ve had the chance to hear from many of you in these communities and understand the policy more clearly as you experience it. We’ve also come to understand how painful this has been. We owe you a better service and a better experience using Facebook, and we’re going to fix the way this policy gets handled so everyone affected here can go back to using Facebook as you were.
Cox further promised to have more research done on the issue to find out a better way for identifying those harmful accounts. There haven’t been any specifics yet, though.
Privacy activists have been skeptical about Facebook’s enforcement of real names. They say having real names on the social media site makes it easier to spy on browsing history.
That’s not the only backpedaling Facebook’s up to.
On Thursday, Facebook said it would now place stricter guidelines for any sort of experimenting it does on its users.
This is in response to last summer when Facebook toyed with users’ accounts to study their emotional responses for a psychological experiment which was later added to an academic journal.
Users weren’t exactly pleased to find out they had been inadvertently treated like guinea pigs. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg made the unintentionally humorous comment of the year when, in the wake of that PR disaster, she said: “We never meant to upset you.’’ Actually, Facebook very much so did.
So, in amends, Facebook will include a more enhanced review process before going forward with the projects, Tech Crunch reports.
A panel of senior researchers in different subject matters like privacy, legal, research, policy, and engineering will determine if a study meets the guidelines. Facebook will also train its engineers during their six-week introductory bootcamp on how research should be conducted. And veteran employees will also get education on proper research methods during annual security and privacy training sessions.
You can read more about those guidelines here. But they only go so far. Tech Crunch notes that Facebook is not updating how it will receive consent from users. The consent is still interwoven in the Terms of Service statement. Read ’em.