A professor who harvested and sold Facebook data to Cambridge Analytica is apologizing for his actions and says he’s “sincerely sorry.”
University of Cambridge psychology professor Aleksandr Kogan delivered his mea culpa on CBS News’ “60 Minutes” Sunday and said be believed it was common knowledge that everyone was aware the data was being mined.
Kogan developed a personality quiz that gave him access to the personal data of not only people participating but also their friends, totaling tens of millions of Facebook users.
“Back then, we thought it was fine. Right now my opinion has really been changed,” he told “60 Minutes” host Lesley Stahl.
“I think that the core idea we had — that everybody knows, and nobody cares — was wrong,” Kogan added. “For that, I am sincerely sorry.”
Ever since the full scope of the data mining came to light, both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica have come under intense fire.
In his own defense, Kogan told Stahl the ability to harvest huge sums of data “was a core feature of the Facebook platform for years. This was not a special permission you had to get. This was just something that was available to anybody who wanted it who was a developer.”
Kogan admitted he hadn’t bothered reading Facebook’s developer policy and that he may have broken one or more of its rules by selling the data. But he added that the social media giant hadn’t raised a fuss about the issue before.
“This is the frustrating bit, where Facebook clearly has never cared. I mean, it never enforced this agreement,” he told Stahl. “They’ll let you know if you do anything wrong. I had a terms of service that was up there for a year and a half that said I could transfer and sell the data. Never heard a word.”
“At the time, I thought we were doing everything that was correct,” Kogan told “60 Minutes.”
“If I had any inkling that what I was going to do was going to destroy my relationship with Facebook, I would never have done it,” he concluded.
Apology or not, people on Twitter were still upset.
How does @Facebook know instantly if someone posts one house listing to their personal page instead of their business page but seems unable to identify and monitor someone harvesting millions of user profiles? Asking for a friend.
— SkinnyLowDown (@SkinnyLowDown) April 23, 2018
Apologizes? That’s it? He’s complicit! A Russian spy in England!
— CG (@dra_cg) April 23, 2018
to say nothing of proffering DELIBERATE MISINFORMATION about FAKE NEWS, “how our government works” and unbridled vitriol/controversial viewpoints?
It’s something that is being “swept under the rug” despite the VERY REAL implications in our ONLY MARKETPLACE OF IDEAS.
— Secret t (@Secret____t) April 23, 2018
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