Facebook data misuse scandal affects "substantially" more than 50M, claims Wylie

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Chris Wylie, the former Cambridge Analytica employee turned whistleblower whose revelations about Facebook data being misused for political campaigning has wiped billions off the share price of the company in recent days and led to the FTC opening a fresh investigation, has suggested the scale of the data leak is substantially larger than has been reported so far. Giving evidence today, to a UK parliamentary select committee that's investigating the use of disinformation in political campaigning, Wylie said: "The 50 million number is what the media has felt safest to report -- because of the documentation that they can rely on -- but my recollection is that it was substantially higher than that. So my own view is it was much more than 50M." We've reached out to Facebook about Wylie's claim -- but at the time of writing the company had not provided a response. "There were several iterations of the Facebook harvesting project," Wylie also told the committee, fleshing out the process through which he says users' data was obtained by CA. "It first started as a very small pilot -- firstly to see, most simply, is this data matchable to an electoral register… We then scaled out slightly to make sure that [Cambridge University professor Alexsandr Kogan] could acquire data in the speed that he said he could [via a personality test app called thisisyourdigitallife deployed via Facebook's platform].


British Prime Minister Very Concerned by Facebook Data Abuse Reports

U.S. News

Facebook said in a statement on Friday that it had learned in 2015 that a Cambridge University psychology professor had lied to the company and violated its policies by passing data to Cambridge Analytica from a psychology testing app he had built. Facebook said it suspended the firms and researchers involved.


Cambridge Analytica created own quizzes to harvest Facebook data

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Controversial data mining company collected information on at least 87 million Facebook users. LONDON -- Cambridge Analytica created its own Facebook quizzes and questionnaires to collect reams of data on users using the social networking giant, according to a former senior official at the data mining company. Brittany Kaiser, the former director of program development at Cambridge Analytica, told British lawmakers on Tuesday that the company, which is at the center of a broader Facebook data scandal, widely used such practices, including a "sex compass" quiz, to garner insight on people's online habits. These data-collection strategies made it highly likely that more people's Facebook data had been collected without their knowledge than previously thought, according to Kaiser. Cambridge Analytica is already accused of using a third-party app created by Aleksandr Kogan, a Cambridge University professor, to collect online information on up to 87 million Facebook users.


British Lawmakers to Interview Cambridge Academic Kogan Over Facebook Data

U.S. News

The committee said it had called Aleksandr Kogan from the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge to discuss his relationship with Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based political firm also accused of improperly accessing data.


Cambridge Analytica: Academic at centre of Facebook data scandal says he is being made 'scapegoat'

The Independent - Tech

A UK-based academic whose app harvested the data of 50 million Facebook users has claimed he is being made a scapegoat by the social media company and Cambridge Analytica. Aleksandr Kogan, a psychology lecturer at Cambridge University, developed a personality app which amassed a huge cache of personal information from Facebook for the British political consultancy accused of an illegal data grab. Cambridge Analytica (CA) is alleged to have used the information to help Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and on Tuesday suspended its chief executive, Alexander Nix, after he was secretly recorded boasting about the firm's pivotal role in the US election. MPs have summoned Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to give evidence over the "catastrophic failure of process" behind the breach and have accused the social media giant of misleading Parliament about how companies acquired and held user data. Facebook, which also faces an investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission, has suspended activity for CA and Dr Kogan for violating its policies.