Social media is weird to say the least. It’s addictive enough to get everyone hooked on to it. It’s free, so it doesn’t seem to be an expensive indulgence. Yet, you’re being taken advantage of, it appears, at least according to a recent report by Bloomberg.
After the infamous Facebook and Cambridge Analytica saga involving the compromise with personal critical information of millions of users, it now appears that Twitter may have hit a rough patch as well. The report says Aleksandr Kogan, who created the popular personality quiz to mine user information for a vast database could have also got access to user data from Twitter as well.
In a rather strange development, Twitter admitted to Bloomberg that Kogan’s company, Global Science Research (GSR) had one time access to a random sample of Twitter users. It hasn’t put a number on the profiles and data accessed. The statement further adds that it conducted an internal audit of its own after recent reports, referring to the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal.
According to Twitter, GSR had access to the information between December 2014 to April 2015. This may not be the end of the story with Twitter, considering there’s no estimate of the number of profiles that were accessed by GSR during the 5-month-long period. Twitter has not been able to find access to any private data of its users as part of the access.
A UK-based data analytics company, Cambridge Analytica, helped several political campaigns interact with potential voters online. It used data from multiple sources such as polling and online information to build ‘voter profiles.’ Combining this data, Cambridge Analytica used computer programs to predict voter behavior, and in turn influence them by using specialized targeted advertising.
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Once it came to know about it, Facebook asked Cambridge Analytica to delete the data. In response to queries from media publications, Facebook said it wasn’t aware that Kogan violated its terms. It added that once it found out in 2015, it was informed by Cambridge Analytica that it had deleted the data. This claim was later proven wrong, after two newspapers reported that Cambridge Analytica had not, in fact, deleted the data.
Over the course of the investigation, Facebook suspended Cambridge Analytica and its parent company SCL, as well as Kogan from the platform for violating its terms and conditions of use.