- An academic created an app which harvested data from 50 million Facebook users and Cambridge Analytica CEO admitted Helping Donald Trump Win 2016 US Election
- Damian Collins, the chairman of the Commons inquiry into fake news, accused Facebook of previously “misleading” the committee
IT NEWS NIGERIA:
Dr Aleksandr Kogan completed work for Cambridge Analytica in 2014, but said he had no idea the data would be used to benefit Donald Trump’s campaign.
The psychology academic said he wanted the data so he could model human behaviour through social media.
The Cambridge University researcher developed a personality survey called This is Your Digital Life.
About 270,000 users’ data was collected, but the app also collected some public data from users’ friends.
Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie said that, as a result, the data of about 50 million users was harvested for the analysis firm.
Dr Kogan said he was “stunned” by the allegations made against him as he was advised the app was entirely legal.
He said: “The events of the past week have been a total shell shock, and my view is that I’m being basically used as a scapegoat by both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica when… we thought we were doing something that was really normal.
“We were assured by Cambridge Analytica that everything was perfectly legal and within the terms of service.”
The firm’s chief executive Alexander Nix – who was suspended on Tuesday -was secretly recorded in a Channel 4 investigation saying the London-based company ran Donald Trump’s digital campaign during the 2016 US election.
He said that the work the company did, including research, analytics and targeted campaigning, allowed the Republican candidate to win with a narrow margin of “40,000 votes” in three states.
“We did all the research, all the data, all the analytics, all the targeting, we ran all the digital campaign, the television campaign and our data informed all the strategy,” he added.
Cambridge Analytica denies doing anything wrong and on Monday said the executives had “entertained a series of ludicrous hypothetical scenarios” in order to “play along with this line of conversation, and partly to spare our ‘client’ from embarrassment”.
But Dr Kogan said the accuracy of the dataset had been “exaggerated” by Cambridge Analytica, and said the dataset was more likely to hurt Mr Trump’s campaign.
A spokesperson for Facebook said the academic was not allowed to transfer data to Cambridge Analytica, a third-party who would use the set for commercial purposes.
They added that sharing users’ friends data outside the app was also against Facebook’s fundamental principles.