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Facebook suspends two more data firms over unethical access

Facebook has suspended two data firms over reports that they are associated with Cambridge Analytica.

  • Published: April 9, 2018 11:51 AM IST
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Facebook‘s battle with privacy advocates continues following the ‘mega breach of trust’ by Cambridge Analytica. The social networking site has been accused of allowing access to the user data for building political tools. In its latest efforts to ensure no further damage is caused to the user data, the company has suspended two more data analytics companies from using its services.

CubeYou, which is a California-based firm, has been suspended after it was accused of harvesting user data under false pretenses. The second firm, AggregateIQ, which is a Canada-based firm, is allegedly tied to Cambridge Analytica – the firm at the center of the Facebook data breach controversy.

The suspension of CubeYou is significant as a CNBC investigation reportedly discovered that the firm was running personality quizzes that were claimed to be for academic research, but the data was, in fact, sold to commercial marketing clients. It is to be noted that Facebook was not aware of the firm’s misuse of data, until it was alerted by the publication. The firm had previously collaborated with the University of Cambridge’s Psychometrics Center.

As reported by Fortune, the working of AggregateIQ involves an even more complex and questionable web of relationships. According to whistleblower Christopher Wylie, the Canadian firm operated as “almost as an internal department of Cambridge Analytica.”

Facebook reportedly suspended the account after it discovered connections between the firm and Cambridge Analytica’s British parent company, SCL Elections. Both the firms have been found linked to Donald Trump-backer Robert Mercer. The firms may be involved in influencing Leave campaigners in the Brexit vote. However, AggregateIQ denied any connection to SCL or Cambridge Analytica.

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Whether or not the two firms are actually associated with and influenced the elections or the Brexit vote, is something which remains to be seen as investigations are going on. However, the outcome is likely to cause long-term economic chaos worldwide.

As for Facebook, the damage is increasing with each new revelation. The company has identified around 87 million users who have been potentially impacted by the breach. Starting today, it will start informing affected users about the breach. It will also help them better understand the privacy guidelines which have been recently revised, and help them secure their data by making necessary changes to the settings.

  • Published Date: April 9, 2018 11:51 AM IST