According to a new report, Cambridge Analytica did not delete valuable data models and derivative data that it collected prior to the 2016 US Presidential Election, and had it through the election. Facebook‘s failure to compel Cambridge Analytica to delete the data it had illegally connected meant that the company was able to use the data during the election itself. The data is said to have widely contributed to the electoral victory by Donald Trump and the Republican Party in the election.
The Guardian suggests that Cambridge Analytica had, in leaked emails, told Facebook that it had deleted the data it harvested illegally, but did not state that it had also deleted the derived information and data models from that data. The derivative models are indeed more valuable than the raw data itself, since it targets and collates the raw data into usable analytics and statistics.
The leaked emails suggest that while Facebook had received an assurance from Cambridge Analytica that the raw data had been deleted in December 2015, it did not receive a confirmation that the data derivatives were also deleted until April 2017, three months after Donald Trump had already assumed office as the President of the United States. Trump’s election campaign had hired Cambridge Analytica to provide data that would prove relevant to the campaign itself, and it is believed that the illegally harvested data had played a role in the successful campaign that saw Trump elected to the United States’ highest elected office.
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The report also raises concerns that Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, may have misrepresented facts while testifying on Facebook’s role before United States Congress last month. Zuckerberg had stated firmly that Facebook had received assurances that Cambridge Analytica had deleted both the raw and derivative data in December 2015. While the data was obviously not deleted, Facebook has stated that it took steps at the right time and received assurances that the data had been deleted. However, the leaked emails now suggest that Zuckerberg had misrepresented these facts in his testimony.