Cambridge Analytica fights back on Facebook data scandal

Cambridge Analytica (CA) insisted it did not use the data during Trump's 2016 campaign and did not support the pro-Brexit side in Britain's referendum on its European Union membership that same year.

This led to personal data of almost 87 million Facebook users being accessible to Kogan. Facebook's argument is that the policy did not allow Kogan to pass that data on to third parties.

Cambridge Analytica unleashed its counterattack against claims that it misused data from millions of Facebook accounts, saying Tuesday it is the victim of misunderstandings and inaccurate reporting that portrays the company as the evil villain in a James Bond movie. Mr. Kogan said the data turned out to be of zero value to the company, and his app was less effective at targeting consumers than Facebook's traditional advertising.

Cambridge Analytica said in a statement that it licensed data for only up to 30 million respondents in the US from Kogan, adding that it found the personality type data from Kogan was "less effective" than standard demographic details.

"Cambridge Analytica did not use the data further".

"Cambridge Analytica's research showed that the personality types licensed by the Kogan data underperformed when compared to more traditional ways of grouping people by demographics", Mitchell said.

However, Kogan told MPs on Tuesday that the data was too imprecise to build up accurate profiles that could be used to effectively target political Facebook ads. "The conclusion", AppOptix writes, "is that users were not simply removing their data and deleting the app". "This was something they gave their employees to stimulate them".

"That's a fabrication", Kogan told committee Chairman Damian Collins. Asked if Nix had lied, Kogan answered: "Absolutely".

Cambridge Analytica later chose to collect its own personality data through marketing research panels and interviews, Mitchell said.

In written evidence to parliament, Kogan said that all of his academic work was reviewed and approved by the University's ethics committees.

When pressed on this baffling statement - and whether he accepted that he had broken the terms as "laid down in black and white" - Kogan said he agreed his actions "were inconsistent with the language of the document", but that this was "slightly different".

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Kogan said that the data he collected had now all been deleted, to the best of his knowledge, but he would double check that none remained.

The data was sold to Cambridge Analytica's parent company.

"We're extremely sorry that we ended up in possession of data that clearly had breached Facebook's terms of service", spokesman Clarence Mitchell told reporters. On the contrary, their entire business models are built on manipulating us into believing things that organisations want us to believe and buying things that marketers believe appeal to people who fit a particular demographic and psychological profile.

"But as I say, we have put in place the procedures that begin to rectify this".

We are not only giving up so much of our private information to these organisations, but we are also signing away any reasonable expectations that they will use this information responsibly, and not manipulate us.

"Any suggestion that the GSR Kogan data was used in that campaign is utterly incorrect".

Kogan created a personality prediction app through his company Global Science Research (GSR), which offered a small financial payment in return for users filling out a personality test. Most of the money received from SCL was spent on coding work, acquiring data and legal fees.

He also pointed out that his former research partner, Joseph Chancellor, still works at Facebook.

"As I understand it, there have been very few departures, and everybody that's working there is committed; actually morale is pretty good now", he said.

"I think that core idea that we had - that everybody knows and nobody cares - was fundamentally flawed", he said.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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