Cambridge Analytica is accused of harvesting and storing data from Facebook users, offering illegal services around elections and misleading MPs. Facebook on Friday suspended the firm, but pushed back against the claim of a major breach, suggesting misused data was limited to a far smaller group of users.Jennifer Grygiel, a Syracuse University professor who studies social media, said the disclosures will increase pressure to regulate Facebook and other social media firms.
Twelve days before Donald Trump won the biggest upset in presidential history, his data team was feeling confident We have three major voter suppression operations under way,â€ a senior campaign official told Bloomberg, a reference to Democratic voters the campaign hoped would stay at home on Election Day.
Here's everything you need to know, including all the latest Facebook and Cambridge Analytica news. The formal request arrives as privacy watchdogs across Europe plot their next steps in the wake of a scandal over the British firm accused of harvesting Facebook user profiles in its work for Donald Trump's US presidential campaign.
Where conventional political advertising uses crude demographic factors like age and ZIP code to target advertising, Cambridge supposedly used a technique called psychographics, which involves building a detailed psychological profile of a user that will allow a campaign to predict exactly what kind of appeal will be most likely to convince any particular voter.
The company also held a staff meeting on Tuesday to address questions about the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the company's policies on data protection, two sources with knowledge of the matter told CNN. In 2007, psychologists Michal Kosinski and David Stillwell from Cambridge University's Psychometrics Centre began using a Facebook quiz they developed called myPersonality to study personality traits of consenting users, Vaughn Johseph according to The Guardian.
He revealed Cambridge Analytica quietly collected data on Facebook users and weaponised that data, in a sense, by targeting people with misinformation and specific ads designed to change their behavior (like, whether to believe in a cause or vote a certain way).
Political data analytics company Cambridge Analytica - which is affiliated with Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) - reportedly used Facebook data, after it was handed over by Aleksandr Kogan, a lecturer at the University of Cambridge's department of psychology.
This news has painted the national discussion over social media's impact on national politics in a stark new light. The story was broken by The Guardian over the weekend, who reported the data may have been used to influence the outcome of the United States election in 2016.
Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham confirmed the move to Channel 4, which on Monday aired a documentary (below) that showed Cambridge Analytics execs - including CEO Alexander Nix - boasting about entrapping politicians, using honey traps and running fake news campaigns.
On multiple occasions, members of Cambridge Analytica have met with executives of a Russian oil company, allegedly in order to figure out ways in which to sway American voters. Even more controversially, Cambridge Analytica has been, at times, linked to the Trump presidential campaign and to foreign interests, potentially in violation of U.S. election laws.
Around 50 million people are believed to have had their data harvested without their permission. "The claim that this is a data breach is completely false," Facebook said in a new statement on Saturday, saying app users knowingly provided their information.
The developments are the latest in what has become a growing political scandal for the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company, which is facing mounting criticism over fake news, political interference and its platform's role in elections in several countries.