Three days earlier, Facebook banned the Britain First group from its social network. Mark Zuckerberg’s company suspended the data analysis firm, Cambridge Analytica and it’s parent company on Friday as it investigates whether or not it deleted personal data from the social network.
According to USA Today, Cambridge Analytica is a data analysis firm and found to have ties to President Donald Trump. The investigation was triggered when Facebook was tipped off and the user data had been provided by a researcher. The data had been collected through a personality quiz app and never deleted as promised.
“Cambridge Analytica, backed by top Trump donor and hedge-fund billionaire Robert Mercer, claims it can predict how people will vote based on the 5,000 pieces of data it collects on nearly every American adult combined with the results of thousands of personality surveys. Enlisted by the Trump campaign, it touted its role in swinging the 2016 presidential election.”
How did this data end up in the hands of the analysis firm? In the above daily report, Facebook confirmed a psychology professor had the authorization to access the data from millions of accounts. In addition, the premise to using the personal data was to create a personality prediction app. The data was passed on to the analysis firm, which violated Facebook’s rules.
An amazing story detailing how the Mercers and Cambridge Analytica duped Facebook, mined our personal information, and just maybe colluded with Russia to try to sway the election for Trump. Kudos @nytimes team. https://t.co/2RZLTQifvY— (((JonathanWeisman))) (@jonathanweisman) March 17, 2018
Cambridge Analytica was asked to turn over documents by Special Counsel Robert Mueller back in December. The reason for the requested documentation was in light of the investigation into the collusion between the campaign and the Russian interference.
As reported by the New York Times, the data firm had secured $15 million as an investment from Robert Mercer. Mercer is a wealthy Republican donor and a close political adviser to former White House Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon.
The Times news report adds the data firm harvested private and sensitive information from more than 50 million users without their consent. This was corroborated by former Cambridge employees, associates, and documents. This breach of information is the largest in Facebook’s company history. The information was used to influence American voters and closely identify their personalities.
“An examination by The New York Times and The Observer of London reveals how Cambridge Analytica’s drive to bring to market a potentially powerful new weapon put the firm — and wealthy conservative investors seeking to reshape politics — under scrutiny from investigators and lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic.”
Facebook has not acknowledged the leak, and Britain First is still in possession of most of the data it was not supposed to have.