While Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and Dr. Aleksandr Kogan, the individual responsible for building the apps which shared the personal information of 87million individuals with Cambridge Analytica, argue over who is to blame, the fact remains that data has been taken and with it, Facebook has lost $60 billion in market value.
In 2015, Facebook were made aware of a misuse of data collection by Cambridge Analytica. Facebook’s response was to simply ask Cambridge to delete the data. Of course, Cambridge agreed and the data deleted. So, problem solved right? WRONG!!! Three years later, we find this was not the case and are we really surprised?
Despite denying the allegation, it would appear that Cambridge Analytica did not delete the data as requested (wow shocking, not really a surprise) but instead continued to harvest that information and used it to micro-target individuals as a means to influence their way of thinking. To explain, Cambridge Analytica were harvesting the information of all the individuals who downloaded Dr. Kogan’s Facebook apps, as well as the data of their entire friend network. The data taken included status updates, likes and private messages that were then used to determine what kind of messaging you would be susceptible to, including the framing of it, the topics, the content, the tone, where you’re going to consume that, and how many times you would need to be touched by that to change how you think about something. They would then create content to influence you and place that on the internet where specialised targeting teams would create platforms such as websites, blogs or whatever they believed the targeted individual would be receptive to and find. Once found by the target, they would click on that piece of content and fall down the rabbit hole until they think something differently. Christopher Wylie, the Former Director of Research at Cambridge Analytica and the whistleblower on the story, has gone on record as saying “if you want to fundamentally change society, you first have to break it, and its only when you break it, is when you can remould the pieces into your vision of a new society”.
This is simply unacceptable. Cambridge Analytica, using the information acquired from Facebook, are influencing the very way we as individuals think. Whether we want to admit it or not, by influencing our very way of thinking, they are removing our freedom to thought or choice. Now I ask, do you care?
We at Exate Technology care, that is why we protect data on the most granular level and assign data ownership back to the individual. So, if you don’t want your data processed we ensure it won’t be! Alternatively, Exate Technology can enforce firm policy, via its technology, ensuring that data is seen on a need to know basis only so that no individual or firm can overstep like Dr. Aleksandr Kogan and Cambridge Analytica have.
Protect the Data – Keep the Trust