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Er, Sheryl Sandberg, that's not really an apology

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A top Facebook chief has admitted the firm did a poor job of informing its users about a controversial 2012 experiment that manipulated the emotions of nearly 700,000 people on the free content ad network.

COO Sheryl Sandberg told reporters during a meeting in India on Wednesday that Facebook had made a hash of the secret test.

"This was part of ongoing research companies do to test different products, and that was what it was," Sandberg said, according to The Wall Street Journal.

It was poorly communicated. And for that communication we apologise. We never meant to upset you.

Her comments come after The Register exclusively revealed on Tuesday that Facebook is being scrutinised by British and Irish data watchdogs to determine whether the firm failed to seek consent from its users before conducting the experiment.

The story has refused to die down, despite protestations from inside Facebook. It has rightly argued that such experiments, known as A/B testing, are widespread across the internet. But - given the Mark Zuckerberg-run network's clout, which boosts 1.25 billion users worldwide - exemplary behaviour is expected from the company, even as it mines ever deeper into your online soul. ®

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