Reports have come forward that data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica worked with Donald Trump’s election team and the winning Brexit campaign in one of the biggest data breaches ever. In the breach, millions of Facebook profiles were harvested and were used to build a computer program that predicted and influenced choices on voting day.
The data was collected through an app called thisisyourdigitallife, built by Aleksandr Kogan. Through Kogan’s company and in conjunction with Cambridge Analytica, hundreds of thousands of users were paid to take personality tests and agreed to have their data collected for academic use. However, what they didn’t know is that the app would also collect the information of their Facebook friends, resulting in data from tens of millions of users.
Christopher Wylie, who helped Cambridge University obtain the data, has said: “We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles. And built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons. That was the basis the entire company was built on.”
After this information became public – but more than two years after it happened – Facebook has announced that it is suspending Cambridge Analytica and Kogan pending an investigation into their misuse of data.