ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Jeremy Telman
Oklahoma City University
School of Law

Friday, July 4, 2014

Follow-up on Nancy Kim's Post about Facebook's Creepy Experiment

Michelle-meyerMichelle Meyer (pictured) has a very detailed post on this subject over at The Faculty Lounge.  Her approach is different from Nancy's, focusing narrowly (but thoroughly) on the question of whether an Institutional Review Board (IRB) could have approved the FB experiment. There Meyer arrives at a different conclusion than I think Nancy would arrive at.  Meyer thinks an IRB could have and should have approved the FB experiment based on informed consent (although she recognizes that one could dispute whether such consent was actually present), and Nancy, I think correctly, questions whether there are very strong arguments that FB users knowingly agreed to this kind of experiment when they agreed to FB's terms.

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Michelle Meyer's post and mine are dealing with two related but different issues. She's talking about whether the study would have received IRB approval - I was looking at whether the "consent" via terms of use constituted consent to the study. The following post hashes out the details of whether IRB approval is needed: The point of my post wasn't to get into all that - it was to address FB's claim that users consented to the study b/c they "agreed" to the terms. I think this assumes a particular interpretation of those terms which my post challenged.

Posted by: Nancy | Jul 4, 2014 8:20:30 AM

Right, different but related posts, but they overlap on the issue of consent. Don't you think your analysis, in the contractual context, of the consent issue ought also to be relevant to the issue of consent (and informed consent) in the IRB context? I think it is, and I think the post that you link gets that issue right even in the IRB context (and Michelle Meyer gets it wrong).

Posted by: Jeremy Telman | Jul 4, 2014 9:35:26 AM