Social media giant, Facebook, has banned analytics firms, Strategic Communication Laboratories and its political arm, Cambridge Analytica, for failing to follow its code of policies regarding the handling personal data. The crime is so severe as it can be considered among the largest abuses of personal the history of the US.
According to several media outlets, Facebook refused to admit that the ban was the result of a data breach. Facebook VP and Deputy General Counsel, Paul Grewal, said that the reports of such a breach were “completely false”.
Cambridge Analytica is said to have obtained the data from Dr. Aleksandr Kogan, who developed an app called “thisisyourdigitallife”, which sold as a personality test and was downloaded by about 270 thousand people. By downloading this app, the users would give permission for the app’s developers to access information regarding their location and their Facebook content preferences, and other information.
Through this app, the firm reportedly gathered information on 50 million people by going through the friends of those users as well, none of whom granted permission to access or use their data.
Kogan initially obtained the information of 270 thousand users legitimately and in accordance with Facebook’s rules. However, when he shared that data with a third party, in this case, Cambridge Analytica, he violated those rules.
“By passing information on to a third party, including SCL/ Cambridge Analytica and Christopher Wylie of Eunoia Technologies, he violated our platform policies,” Grewal wrote.
According to the VP, the company had also requested that Kogan and all parties he had given the data destroy the public information.
However, Facebook received reports last week that not all of the data had been destroyed as promised. While the social media giant has not yet verified these claims, it has chosen to suspend SCL/Cambridge Analytica as well as Kogan from the platform while it investigates these accusations.
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