Published: Tue, March 20, 2018
Culture | By Henry Herrera

Facebook hires firm to audit Cambridge Analytica

Facebook hires firm to audit Cambridge Analytica

The social network is now under fire after The New York Times and The Guardian newspaper reported that former Trump campaign consultant Cambridge Analytica used data, including user likes, inappropriately obtained from roughly 50 million Facebook users to try to influence elections.

A spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May said the allegations were "clearly very concerning". They also offered to use Ukrainian sex workers and companies employing ex-spies to help dig dirt on political candidates. An undercover reporter for Channel 4 News posed as a fixer for a wealthy client hoping to get candidates elected in Sri Lanka.

"We have a long history of working behind the scenes you know", Nix says in the Channel Four documentary, viewable above.

"Mr Nix told our reporter: "...we're used to operating through different vehicles, in the shadows, and I look forward to building a very long-term and secretive relationship with you". "And we have heard similar allegations during our investigation".

Facebook is under pressure from lawmakers in both the United States and the UK after more than 50 million users' data ended up in the wrong hands.

Facebook sank 7.5 percent in heavy trading Monday following reports that a company employed by the Trump campaign improperly obtained data on tens of millions of users.

Facebook makes it easy for advertisers to target users based on nuanced information about them.

Meanwhile, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, called the controversy a "major breach that must be investigated" and has called on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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The issue concerns data gathered after more than 270,000 people downloaded a personality test app called "thisisyourdigitallife".

She had already announced an investigation into the matter.

"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", Facebook's vice president and deputy general counsel Paul Grewal said in a blog post.

Daniel Kreiss, a professor of media and communications at the University of North Carolina, said Facebook failed to live up to its responsibilities on election ads.

"We have repeatedly asked Facebook about how companies acquire and hold on to user data from their site, and in particular whether data had been taken from people without their consent", Collins said in a statement.

Chris Wylie, a Cambridge co-founder who left in 2014, said the firm used such techniques to learn about individuals and create an information cocoon to change their perceptions.

Britain's Information Commissioner's Office said it would consider the potential new evidence as part its separate civil and criminal probe into whether Facebook user data had been abused in British elections.

She said: "This is a complex and far-reaching investigation for my office and any criminal or civil enforcement actions arising from it will be pursued vigorously".

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