25 April, 2018
During a news conference in London, spokesman Clarence Mitchell addressed claims surrounding the company's dealings with former University of Cambridge researcher Aleksandr Kogan. Facebook estimates the personal information of 622,161 users in Canada - and almost 87 million worldwide - was accessed by Cambridge Analytica without authorization.
He also accused Facebook of feigning ignorance of how their users' data was being used, saying it was "well documented that Facebook collaborates with researchers".
Next month, the European Union will begin enforcing its new General Data Protection Regulation, which explicitly applies to any company that uses the data of EU residents, no matter where it is based.
"One of the biggest points of confusion has been how accurate the personality scores we provided to SCL [CA's parent company] were", he said.
Cambridge Analytica went on to work on Donald Trump's 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, using message micro-targeting through personality profiles.
He added: The company has been portrayed as some Bond villain.
The data was harvested by an app called This Is Your Digital Life, which was developed by Cambridge University lecturer Aleksandr Kogan.
No sir, I did not - it was an unfortunate coincidence, replied Dr Kogan, who explained it had come about because he and his wife did not want to take each other's name and thought Spectre sounded cool.
He was also forced to fall back on the argument - also put forward by Kogan - that the GSR data CA forked out many thousands of dollars for was "virtually useless", with the personality matches being only slightly better than a random guess.
Kogan is due to testify before a United Kingdom parliamentary committee on Tuesday.
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Thus, for now, all parents could do is to make sure that their children are using apps safely and logged in carefully. The researchers found many were not complying with COPPA because they did not attain "verifiable parental consent".
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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.
Following the interview, Democrats from the House Judiciary and the Oversight and Government Reform committees warned about the prospect of election interference on social media and urged the panels' chairs to hold full hearings on the data scandal.
The company also said it deleted the raw data after Facebook requested it to.
"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. While it has condemned Kogan's work as "a scam and a fraud", Facebook has kept schtum about its feelings towards GSR's co-founder, Joseph Chancellor - who just happens to now be in the employ of the Zuckerborg.
"I do not think they have a developer policy that is valid", he said, adding - somewhat incoherently himself.
"We're not data harvesters, by any stretch of the imagination". There was no kind of written agreement.
When asked why Facebook would be so accommodating, Kogan replied that "this was something they gave their employees to stimulate them".
"We're confident we've done nothing wrong and we feel that at the end of this, once everything all works out, that that will come to the fore". The company said it did not use Kogan's data in its political consulting work for Sen.
Cambridge Analytica later made a decision to collect its own personality data through marketing research panels and interviews, Mitchell said.
But Kogan told the committee that Facebook's policy was incoherent.