The Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal involves the collection of personally identifiable information of up to 87 million Facebook users and almost certainly a much greater number that Cambridge Analytica began collecting in 2014. The data was allegedly used to attempt to influence voter opinion on behalf of politicians who hired them. Following the discovery, Facebook apologized amid public outcry and fallen stock prices. The way that Cambridge Analytica collected the data was called “inappropriate”.
In December 2015, The Guardian reported that United States Senator Ted Cruz was using data from this scandal and that the subjects of the data were unaware that companies were selling and politicians were buying their personal information. In March 2018, The New York Times, The Guardian and Channel 4 News made more detailed reports on the data scandal with new information from former Cambridge Analytica employee turned whistleblower Christopher Wylie, who provided clearer information about the size of the data collection, the nature of the personal information stolen, and communication among Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, and political representatives who hired Cambridge Analytica to use the data to influence voter opinion.
The scandal was significant for inciting public discussion on ethical standards for social media companies, political consulting organizations, and politicians. Consumer advocates called for greater consumer protection in online media and right to privacy as well as curbs on misinformation and propaganda.
Cambridge Analytica released an unverified statement saying that the data obtained from Kogan was not used in the 2016 presidential campaigns of Donald Trump, and Ted Cruz.
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