Facebook suspends Cambridge Analytica & SCL Group accounts

Former Cambridge Analytica Employee: 'Company Stole Data From 50 Million Facebook Profiles'

The more than 50 million profiles represented around a third of active North American Facebook users, and almost a quarter of potential U.S. voters, at the time, the paper said.

In a column by Karissa Bell for Mashable, FB supposedly suspended the said firm from the site after they took issue to the way Cambridge Analytica used user data obtained by a third party developer.

The firm, which worked on Donald Trump's 2016 presidential election campaign, was able to use the information to create techniques that targeted voters during the campaign, the reports said.

Cambridge Analytica spent almost $1 million on data collection, which yielded more than 50 million individual profiles that could be matched to electoral rolls.

"We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people's profiles". Data scientist and former Cambridge Analytica employee Christopher Wylie, speaking to The Guardian, described this as an effort to "target their inner demons".

Christopher Wylie, a Cambridge Analytica co-founder who worked there until late 2014, has come forward to expose the unscrupulous practices of his former employer.

Cambridge Analytica is accused of improperly gathering data from a personality app developed by a University of Cambridge professor.

However, the app not only collected personal information of the people who downloaded the app, but also of unknowing friends, according to the newspapers' investigation. "We will take legal action if necessary to hold them responsible and accountable for any unlawful behavior".

Facebook told the companies which bought the data to delete it immediately, and said it was given assurances the information would be destroyed. The Observer said it was headed at the time by Steve Bannon, a top Trump adviser until he was sacked last summer.

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Wylie provided The Observer with a dossier of evidence illustrating Cambridge Analytica's misuse of the data, including emails, invoices, contracts, and bank transfers that point to the scope of the breach.

The company by its own admission first learned about its users' data being harvested by analytics firm without user authorization back in 2015. While Uber and Equifax have attracted much of the user anger over delayed data breaches, Facebook appears to have done worse.

The company, Cambridge Analytica, was suspended from Facebook on Friday. "That was the basis the entire company was built on", he said.

Cambridge Analytica has denied any wrongdoing, saying that although it had hired Kogan to carry out research, it deleted his information when they learned it had been obtained under suspicious circumstances. Those picking up the app gave permission for the app to grab information on the downloader, "such as the city they set on their profile, or content they had liked, as well as more limited information about friends who had their privacy settings set to allow it", Facebook explained.

"Several days ago, we received reports that, contrary to the certifications we were given, not all data was deleted", he added.

Cambridge Analytica uses the controversial practice called psychographics that microtarget ads based on personality.

Cambridge Analytica did not respond to immediate requests for comment.

Meanwhile, the Trump campaign paid Cambridge Analytica $5 million to help target voters.

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