Facebook told CNN it is looking into ties between one of its current employees and Cambridge Analytica, the controversial data firm that worked for Donald Trump's presidential campaign and was suspended by Facebook on Friday.
After suspending Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), along with its political data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, for violating its policies and commitments, Facebook has denied any data breach as claimed by some media reports. However, the professor claimed the data firm did not disclose how it got all the information. But the company's "not a breach" argument isn't likely to make users feel any safer or more comfortable doing so - especially given that it's already under fire for missing that Russian actors were purchasing USA election ads on the site to sway voter opinions, as well as running fake accounts disguised as real Americans. While the method of obtaining users' personal information aligned with Facebook's policies, " he did not subsequently abide by our rules", Facebook said in the statement. Cambridge's goal, he told the Guardian in a video interview, was to use the Facebook data to build detailed profiles that could be used to identify and then to target individual voters with personalized political messages calculated to sway their opinions.
A slide presentation prepared for the Lukoil pitch focuses first on election disruption strategies used by Cambridge Analytica's parent company, SCL, in Nigeria.
Cambridge Analytica said in a statement that it did nothing illegal and is now in touch with Facebook.
"We are committed to vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people's information", Facebook said in the blog post.
"The lid is being opened on the black box of Facebook's data practices, and the picture is not pretty", said Frank Pasquale, a University of Maryland law professor who has written about Silicon Valley's use of data.
But it did not amount to data breach, according to Facebook.
As Facebook executives wrangle on Twitter over the semantics of whether this constitutes a "breach", the result for users is the same: personal data extracted from the platform and used for a goal to which they did not consent. So the firm harvested private information from the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users without their permission.
Facebook acted as The New York Times and The Observer of London exposed Cambridge Analytica's acquisition of the data, calling it a "breach" that "underpinned" the analytics firm's "work on President Trump's campaign in 2016".
Revelations that Cambridge Analytica misused social media data could also be of interest to Mueller's investigation. In fact, the company claims that it only "receives and uses data that has been obtained legally and fairly". Cambridge Analytica insisted that when it learned that it had been sold data it shouldn't have, the firm deleted the data. "Of course, they won't because discovery would show exactly how ruthless Facebook is when it comes to partners & how they treat their users". Mr. Trump's 2016 digital guru, Brad Parscale, told "60 Minutes" past year that the campaign did not use Cambridge Analytica's controversial practice of psychographics.