Facebook Says EU Data May Not Have Been Accessed By Cambridge Analytica

Facebook’s private data for its European users may not have been obtained by Cambridge Analytica. This is coming on the heels of criticisms triggered by a scandal of great consequence which sparked global outrage as the social media giant continues to tackle and defend. According to Stephen Satterfield, a privacy policy director at Facebook, while speaking to the European Union parliamentarians in a hearing on Monday, he said: “the best information we have suggests that no Facebook EU data was shared by Dr. [Aleksandr] Kogan with Cambridge Analytica.”

Kogan is known as a notorious researcher who collected users’ information and subsequently traded it with the consulting firm, working on Donald Trump’s 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign. Unless Facebook conducts its personal audit, this information remains uncertain. And the social media giant has vehemently reiterated that it wouldn’t be able to make any firm conclusions on the matter.

Facebook plans to carry out this audit as soon as it gets the nod of the U.K’s watchdog that as at this time has its own probe ongoing. Facebook maintains that a testimony by Logan as well as contracts his firm GSR had entered into with Cambridge Analytica, along with its internal analysis formed the basis of its preliminary conclusion.

Facebook Says EU Data Not Accessed By Cambridge Analytica

Richard Allan who is the Vice President of policy solutions at Facebook while offering explanations on the evidence that led to this conclusion said that Kogan’s contract with Cambridge Analytica had instructed the researcher to compile the data of Americans that would be put to use in the U.S. political campaigns. Whilst almost all persons who had downloaded and installed Kogan’s app were Americans, Kogan may still have collected European data, Allan said.”But the data he delivered to Cambridge Analytica was the Americans’ data because that’s all they wanted.”

The U.S. tech giant initially told the European Union that as many as 2.7 million Europeans might have had their data shared with Cambridge Analytica. The social media giant had acted proactively by initially issuing notifications to users who had their data potentially accessed by Kogan’s app notwithstanding if their data might not inappropriately have been shared with Cambridge Analytica.

The European Union’s top privacy regulator also berated the firm for the apparent reversal of its original stance. Andrea Jelinek, who leads the authorities in charge of policing EU data privacy law told the Parliament’s civil liberties committee on Monday in Brussels, Belgium that “what really is concerning is that there are revelations and then Facebook admits having shared data of users and even non-users, and after each revelation, they admit another thing, It is like a puzzle, and we don’t know how many pieces are in there and how many are still missing.”

It is the second hearing in a series of in-depth events which the parliamentarians have planned to enable them probe better into the circumstances surrounding the sharing of information as regards to as many as over 87 million people and how the said shared information ended up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica.

The European Union lawmakers have scheduled a third hearing for July 2, with an invitation extended to the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg who is highly expected to appear in person.

The hearings are a month on the heels of the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s trip to Brussels to be questioned by European Union lawmakers, where he left them frustrated over questions he never responded to during the encounter. The social media giant has since continued posting its well-calculated responses online, in batches, to all the questions from the session.

Anna Versai

Associate Editor (Features and Rewrite) at Technowize. Anna Versai gives a quick and entertaining look at Technology’s most fascinating news. She also writes for The HR Digest and Industry Leaders Magazine. |Follow her on Twitter @VersaiAnna

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