Facebook Under Scrutiny Over Cambridge Analytica Data Harvesting

Some Democratic lawmakers are calling for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify about reports that President Trump's political marketing consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, gathered data from 50 million users without their consent.

"This is a major breach that must be investigated," Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) stated Saturday. "They say 'trust us,' but Mark Zuckerberg needs to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about what Facebook knew about misusing data from 50 million Americans in order to target political advertising and manipulate voters."

Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) also called on Facebook and Cambridge Analytica to testify before the Senate Commerce Committee "so that we can get to the bottom of these disturbing reports that may impact tens of millions of Americans."

Calls for an investigation came this weekend, shortly after reports surfaced about the extent of Cambridge Analytica's ad-targeting efforts on behalf of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign. While the firm was known to have assisted with campaign ads, the scope of its data-gathering efforts didn't emerge Saturday, when The New York Times and the Guardian reported that the company gleaned data from 50 million users.

Cambridge Analytica reportedly harvested the data by the personality-quiz app thisisyourdigitallife, created by Global Science Research's Aleksandr Kogan. That app was downloaded by 270,000 users, but was able to gather information about many of those users' Facebook contacts, depending on their privacy settings.

Facebook said Friday that it has suspended Cambridge Analytica, Kogan and others associated with the data harvesting.

2 comments about "Facebook Under Scrutiny Over Cambridge Analytica Data Harvesting".
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  1. Henry Blaufox from Dragon360, March 19, 2018 at 12:14 p.m.

    I am totally unfamiliar with the app in question, but if the user downloading it clicks "allow" on the standard popup advisory that the app wants to access certain data, and lists the FB contacts as part of that, the user has opted in. If the contacts are not listed, or there is no warning, that would violate Apple and Google (Android) policies and they can be removed by the hosts.

    As for the Cambridge Anal;ytica data segmenting software, I've followed the claims the company makes for it. It is more talk than reality, from what I've seen. Based on results the firm has achieved since they tried taking credit for the 2016 targeting, I think the marketplace agrees. These guys aren't exactly scarfing down business.

  2. Sheldon Senzon from JMS Media, Inc., March 19, 2018 at 2:25 p.m.

    Well said. Time for some real accountability. 

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