The data of 87 million Facebook users, most of them in the United States, were probably illegally accessed by Cambridge Analytica, a British consulting company, according to an online social media company.
"Overall, we believe that 87 million people in Facebook profiles, most of them in the United States, have probably been illegally accessed by Cambridge Analytica," Mike Schroepfer, Facebook's technical director, said on Wednesday evening.
"Two weeks ago, I vowed a tough approach to the information that applications can access when connecting to Facebook (…). Today, we want to share the latest information about the changes we make to better protect personal data. We will make more changes in the coming months and keep you up to date, "said Mike Schroepfer.
A company specializing in online data analysis involved in US President Donald Trump's campaign and the pro-Brexit campaign exploited for electoral purposes Facebook data of tens of millions of US citizens in a member of Steve Bannon's team called "War psychological". A transparency activist, Christopher Wylie, revealed to The New York Times and Observer that Cambridge Analytica, owned by billionaire Robert Mercer speculative trader and headed by Steve Bannon at the time, participated in Donald Trump's election campaign using fraudulent Facebook profiles of millions of American voters to build a powerful software program to anticipate and influence electoral preferences. The same analytical company was involved in the campaign for the UK out of the European Union (Brexit). Steve Bannon became director of Donald Trump's campaign team in August 2017.
Cambridge Analytica used data stolen in 2014 from Facebook accounts to determine American voters profiles and send them personalized political ads. Christopher Wylie, who worked with Cambridge University professor for data, told Observer: "We have exploited the Facebook online socialization platform to get millions of voters' profiles. (…) This was the basis on which the company was built ". Documents Observer and Facebook have revealed that by the end of 2015, Cambridge Analytica collects online data to an unprecedented level. Facebook had not yet warned users and took only limited measures to secure the data of over 50 million people. According to The New York Times, copies of Cambridge Analytica data are still online. The information was collected through an application called "thisisyourdigitallife", created by Professor Aleksandr Kogan independently of his work at Cambridge University. Through its company, Global Science Research (GSR), in collaboration with Cambridge Analytica, hundreds of thousands of Facebook users have been paid to perform personality tests under the pretext of using data for academic studies. But the application also collects the data from the "friends" lists of those who accepted the tests, so the profiles of tens of millions of people have been obtained.
According to The Guardian, Christopher Wylie talked about what he called "Steve Bannon's psychological warfare instrument." He explained that Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer had the idea of using megadate and online social networking methodology for "information operations" on the US electorate. Christopher Wylie contributed ideas and worked on the project before he became the denouncer in the spring of 2017.
Facebook has announced that it has decided to suspend the accounts of Cambridge Analytica, Christopher Wylie and Aleksandr Kogan, a Russian-American professor. "It's a scam. We will take all necessary steps to erase stolen data, we will initiate legal action against the authors of the illegal activities, "said Paul Grewal, Vice President of Facebook
Cambridge Analytica is being investigated in the UK by Parliament and regulators on charges of illegal activities in the referendum campaign on the country's membership of the European Union