Facebook's FTC-authorised audit missed Cambridge Analytica scandal

22 April, 2018, 03:52 | Author: Bridget Leonard
  • Private data of 87 million Facebook users was exposed to Cambridge Analytica: what you need to know and do

Another bill is the Balancing the Rights Of Web Surfers Equally and Responsibly (BROWSER) Act, set to prohibit the sharing of sensitive personal data of users by Facebook and other tech companies.

The University of Cambridge has rejected a freedom of information request from WikiTribune related to an internal dispute over the work of the academic who is a key character in the data scandal that has engulfed Facebook, though the university said it recognised there was public interest in the information.

On Tuesday, Brittany Kaiser appeared before the United Kingdom parliament to give evidence on her former employer, data firm Cambridge Analytica. As part of the settlement, agreed to in 2011, Facebook would undergo outside audits every two years.

However, one month after the API shutdown, Cambridge Analytica's chief data officer told Kaiser to look through a list of Facebook groups and choose 500 of them to get data about people who had liked those groups.

Next month, Facebook is planning to make that the case only for European users; this means 1.5 billion members in Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America will not fall under the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which takes effect on May 25. For example, Facebook patented a system that displays question and answers, as an interactive feature between network users; it also patented a particular system analyzing social interactions to provide recommendations (much in the way, I assume, Amazon does when making recommendations based on my purchase history). In addition to requiring that Facebook give users more control over their data, the decree required that Facebook assess potential risks to privacy.


66% of people view Facebook as a media company that prioritizes some types of content over others.

This tracking isn't just so Facebook can keep its eyes on you. It also gleans data from your interactions with Facebook friends, as well as the pages and posts you "like". On top of that, Facebook can access information about devices that're connected to the same network you're on. It also would create transparency and control for consumers over their personal data insofar as consumers would have access to the volumes of personal data collected about them. Recently Facebook acknowledged that an app using Facebook's platform in 2013 illegally copied data of 335 people in India who installed the app and 562,120 of their Facebook friends. But, given Facebook's history, I would actually be surprised if the Zuckerberg didn't exploit this algorithm and offer advertisers the option of excluding individuals predicted to fall into lower socioeconomic levels.

Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP Bob Zimmer reprimanded Facebook on Thursday after the company's CEO Mark Zuckerberg declined to testify to parliamentary committee after 600,000 of the company's users in Canada had their personal information compromised in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Facebook admitted it still isn't sure of the extent of the data that was exposed.

I should emphasise that the Kogan/GSR datasets and questionnaires were not the only Facebook-connected questionnaires and datasets which Cambridge Analytica used.

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