TECH

Facebook Denies Timeline Manipulation Was Military Experiment

04/07/2014 12:15 BST | Updated 04/07/2014 12:59 BST

Facebook has denied that the timeline manipulation experiment that took place in 2012 was funded by the Minerva Research Inititative, a US government project to study mass social behaviour during civil unrest.

READ MORE: Facebook Manipulated 689,003 Users' Emotions For 'Creepy' Secret Experiment

Speaking to the Guardian, a spokesperson for one of the lead researchers at Minerva, Professor Jeffrey Hancock, confirmed that none of the 'emotion contagion' work done at Facebook was linked to the military.

“While Prof Hancock, like many researchers, has conducted work funded by the federal government during his career, at no time did Professor Hancock or his postdoctoral associate Jamie Guillory request or receive outside funding to support their work on this PNAS paper,”

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Both Facebook and Cornell University -- where Professor Hancock is based -- are claiming that the two studies are completely separate.

It had originally been implied that Professor Hancock's work on 'emotion contagion' had received support from outside sources with some suggesting that Facebook's own 'emotion contagion' experiment was directly involved.

Despite the coincidence, both organisations have categorically denied Facebook's involvement.

The Minerva Research Initiative is a project started by the Pentagon which tries to better understand how human society would react to a catastrophic national event.

Designed to predict behaviours it's looking for patterns and trends that can help prevent, or contain mass civil unrest.