Published: Sun, March 18, 2018

Facebook suspends data analytics firm linked to Uhuru campaign

Facebook suspends data analytics firm linked to Uhuru campaign

A data analysis firm employed by President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign tapped the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users without their permission, allowing it to capitalize on the private social media activity of a large portion of the US electorate, newspapers reported Saturday.

That year, Facebook said, it learned that University of Cambridge professor Aleksandr Kogan lied to the company and violated its policies by sharing data that he acquired with a so-called "research app" that used Facebook's login system.

Facebook said that protecting people's information is at the heart of everything it does, and requires the same from people who operate apps on the platform.

"When we learned of this violation in 2015", Grewal said, "we removed the app from Facebook and demanded certifications from Kogan and all parties he had given data to that the information had been destroyed".

Facebook revealed it had suspended data firm Cambridge Analytica, which supported President Trump during his 2016 campaign. The company is moving to verify the claims and is suspending SCL, Cambridge Analytica, Wylie, and Kogan from the social network till it gets more information.

"We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people's profiles". It was not, and when Cruz failed to secure the GOP presidential nomination, that data was put to use for the Trump campaign. They do not use or hold data from Facebook profiles. British officials are also investigating the firm in connection with the June 2016 European Union referendum.

Facebook says it is investigating. "Cambridge Analytica only receives and uses data that has been obtained legally and fairly".

Kogan's app, "thisisyourdigitallife", was a profiling app billing itself as "a research app used by psychologists".

The reason concerns the nature of how Facebook handled its users' data before rising privacy concerns prompted it to tighten its policies against what critics have called an egregious kind of abuse - allowing app developers to gain access to information not only on their customers but also on their customers' many Facebook friends.

The operation was not limited to 270,000 people, though. "We are suspending SCL/Cambridge Analytica, Wylie and Kogan from Facebook, pending further information".

A Cambridge Analytica spokesman said GSR "was contractually committed by us to only obtain data in accordance with the UK Data Protection Act and to seek the informed consent of each respondent". President Trump's 2016 data guru Brad Parscale, who has been named campaign manager of the 2020 re-election bid, hired Cambridge Analytica during the campaign. To put in Regan's statement from the post on this, it goes: "If true, this is another unacceptable violation of trust and the commitments they made". It subsequently suspended Cambridge Analytica and Kogan from the platform pending an investigation.

But creating voter profiles is expensive, so Cambridge turned to Kogan and his Facebook app for data collection. We will take whatever steps are required to see that this happens.

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