Last March, Orestis Papakyriakopoulos, a researcher at Princeton University, applied to use a special data access tool that allows academics to do research on Facebook. His goal was to investigate political campaigning on the social network.
The data set contained information on ads related to elections, how they were distributed, to whom and at what cost. But Papakyriakopoulos withdrew his application when he saw what he viewed to be draconian controls on access written into the contract, which he was required to sign.
“Facebook will have the opportunity to review drafts . . . sufficiently ahead of the planned publication or disclosure date . . . solely to identify any Confidential Information or any Personal Data that may be included or revealed in those materials and which need to be removed prior to publication or disclosure,” according to a copy of the draft contract, seen by the Financial Times.