An illustration made with a figurine set up in front of Facebook's homepage in Paris on May 14, 2012.
An illustration made with a figurine set up in front of Facebook's homepage in Paris on May 14, 2012. Joel Saget—AFP/Getty Images

The Author of a Controversial Facebook Study Says He's ‘Sorry’

Jun 30, 2014

One of the authors of a controversial Facebook study into emotional states published this month has apologized for anxiety caused.

Facebook tweaked the News Feeds of nearly 700,000 users by displaying disproportionately positive or negative statuses for one week in January 2012, to help its researchers understand how emotional states are transmitted on social media. More than 3 million posts were analyzed in the experiment.

“My co-authors and I are very sorry for the way the paper described the research and any anxiety it caused. In hindsight, the research benefits of the paper may not have justified all of this anxiety,” wrote Adam Kramer, one of the three authors, in a Facebook post.

But Kramer also defended the social network’s study. “We felt that it was important to investigate the common worry that seeing friends post positive content leads to people feeling negative or left out,” he wrote.

Controversy swirled around the social media giant's ethics because users were not explicitly asked or notified that they were part of the experiment. Instead, Facebook relied on its terms of service that all users agree to when signing up and allows them to conduct studies like this.

You can read the full post by Kramer here:

https://www.facebook.com/akramer/posts/10152987150867796

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.