A former employee of the notorious data broker Cambridge Analytica (CA) today testified the company had several other quizzes on Facebook besides the one which started Facebook’s current audit — and potentially they could have compromised far more than the 87 million people Facebook estimated.
The British Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee is now conducting an inquiry into Facebook and Cambridge Analytica’s misappropriation of user data. Yesterday, former CA executive Brittany Kaiser testified before the committee about the company’s actions. You can read her full written testimony here.
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With regards to CA’s Facebook activities, here is the most interesting part of Kaiser’s testimony:
I should emphasise that the Kogan/GSR datasets and questionnaires were not the only Facebook-connected questionnaires and datasets which Cambridge Analytica used. I am aware in a general sense of a wide range of surveys which were done by CA or its partners, usually with a Facebook login – for example, the “sex compass” quiz. I do not know the specifics of these surveys or how the data was acquired or processed. But I believe it is almost certain that the number of Facebook users whose data was compromised through routes similar to that used by Kogan is much greater than 87 million; and that both Cambridge Analytica and other unconnected companies and campaigns were involved in these activities.
If true, it would mean Facebook might have many more “This Is Your Digital Lifes” out there. She doesn’t give details on any of the quizzes, but she did tell the committee in spoken testimony that she believes the quizzes were designed with the intention of harvesting data.
Kaiser specifies that she “never handled Cambridge Analytica’s data models or any significant datasets” and the research was done before her time. She only found out about the quizzes in 2015, thanks to an article in The Guardian. She said her broader knowledge of the quizzes only came about thanks to investigations of the last few weeks.
We’ve contacted Facebook for more information about the quizzes she’s talking about. We’ll update if we hear more — I’m especially curious to know what this “sex compass” quiz is.
The exact number of quizzes may be moot, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg has already specified that all of Facebook’s users should assume their data has been compromised by search vulnerabilities.
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