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Facebook suspends Cambridge Analytica, firm behind Trump's campaign

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Staff Writer | March 17, 2018
Cambridge Analytica
Technology   Passing data from an app

Facebook said it was suspending consulting firm Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) and its political data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica after it found they had violated its policies.

"Protecting people’s information is at the heart of everything we do, and we require the same from people who operate apps on Facebook.

"In 2015, we learned that a psychology professor at the University of Cambridge named Dr. Aleksandr Kogan lied to us and violated our Platform Policies by passing data from an app that was using Facebook Login to SCL/Cambridge Analytica, a firm that does political, government and military work around the globe. He also passed that data to Christopher Wylie of Eunoia Technologies, Inc.

"Like all app developers, Kogan requested and gained access to information from people after they chose to download his app.

"His app, “thisisyourdigitallife,” offered a personality prediction, and billed itself on Facebook as “a research app used by psychologists.” Approximately 270,000 people downloaded the app.

"In so doing, they gave their consent for Kogan to access information 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.

"Although Kogan gained access to this information in a legitimate way and through the proper channels that governed all developers on Facebook at that time, he did not subsequently abide by our rules.

"By passing information on to a third party, including SCL/Cambridge Analytica and Christopher Wylie of Eunoia Technologies, he violated our platform policies.

"When we learned of this violation in 2015, we removed his app from Facebook and demanded certifications from Kogan and all parties he had given data to that the information had been destroyed. Cambridge Analytica, Kogan and Wylie all certified to us that they destroyed the data.

"Several days ago, we received reports that, contrary to the certifications we were given, not all data was deleted. We are moving aggressively to determine the accuracy of these claims.

"If true, this is another unacceptable violation of trust and the commitments they made. We are suspending SCL/Cambridge Analytica, Wylie and Kogan from Facebook, pending further information."

Strategic Communication Laboratories is the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, the data analytics firm used by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign ahead of the 2016 presidential election.


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