Facebook Suspends Trump-Linked Data Firm for Obtaining User Data

Cesar Mills
March 18, 2018

Facebook said in a statement that "Protecting people's information is at the heart of everything we do, and we require the same from people who operate apps on Facebook". While 270,000 people sounds like a lot, it's a very small portion of Facebook's user base, and would represent a very small portion of the potential USA electorate. Facebook declined to confirm this number but also did not dispute it. As a part of an ongoing investigation into Russia's involvement in the 2016 election, Cambridge Analytica was asked to hand over internal documents to Special Counsel Robert Mueller in December. She believes Facebook didn't inform users because it wasn't in their best interest.

"Cambridge Analytica, Kogan and Wylie all certified to us that they destroyed the data", it added.

Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, said the case was "more evidence that the online political advertising market is essentially the Wild West" and showed the need for Congress to pass legislation to bring transparency and accountability to online political advertisements.

Following this mess up, Cambridge Analytica has now been kept under scrutiny regarding the probe into its alleged interference in the Russian election.

But Wylie does not think Facebook is completely innocent, as the social media giant first knew of the data gathering in 2015. The data was initially obtained by the developer of an app that promised to provide users with "personality predictions".

The Facebook members gave their consent for Kogan to access information such as the city they set on their profile, or content they had liked, as well as some limited information about friend groups and contacts.

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The app, which was run by a University of Cambridge professor named Dr. Aleksandr Kogan, then shared the data with Cambridge Analytica, which is against Facebook's rules and guidelines.

Cambridge Analytica, a big data company focused on political and commercial ad campaigns, paid for illegally obtained personal information of 50 million Facebook users, according to the New York Times and London Observer.

Everyone involved said they destroyed the data - though that may have been untrue, something Facebook said it found out just days ago.

Caught in a similar situation of policy violation impinging on the privacy rights of its user information, Facebook has done away with Cambridge Analytica, the data firm used by the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, citing policy violations as the cause of the suspension.

Facebook has suspended the account of controversial data and communication firm Strategic Communication Laboratories, including its analytics company, Cambridge Analytica.

Cambridge Analytica responded on Saturday saying it fully complied with the Facebook request in 2015 and deleted all the data it had received once it was made aware of the breach. That stolen data, according to reports, became the foundation for Cambridge Analytica's efforts to target voters for Donald Trump's 2016 Presidential campaign. The involvement of Mercer (The Guardian) and Bannon and the firm's apparent skill in identifying the political leanings of and therefore potentially influential messaging to American voters in 2016, was seen as key to Trump's success.

Other reports by GizPress

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