ALEKSANDR KOGAN, the UK-based academic at the heart of Facebook’s privacy scandal, has said that swiping user data was “normal practice” for companies like Cambridge Analytica.
In an interview with NBC News’ Today show, he added that “probably every [Facebook] user” has had there info hoovered up by shady firms.
Kogan said: “Tens of thousands of companies have collected this data… The reality is probably every user, or nearly every user, has been collected many, many times by many companies, and Facebook has no accounting for where that data is today.”
Earlier this month, the social network admitted that the true extent of data harvesting on its platform impacted 87million people, not 50million as previously thought.
The user info was collected by Kogan’s “This is Your Digital Life” personality quiz app and later obtained by Cambridge Analytica, which reportedly used it to influence the 2016 US general election and the Brexit vote.
Both Kogan and Cambridge Analytica have been suspended from Facebook “pending further information”.
Earlier this month, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg told Congress that his company was mulling whether or not to pursue legal action against the two parties.
Asked about Facebook’s attempts to paint him as the culprit, Kogan said it was “PR spin”.
“I think they’re trying to distract people from realising that what we did was the normal practice back then,” he said.
“I was a pretty friendly face of Facebook. I worked with them, they knew me well, and I had a lot of things to lose by making them upset.
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“If I knew the project was going to make them upset I would never do it. A lot of other developers collected way more data and cared a lot less about their relationship with Facebook.”
Kogan’s remarks come as he prepares to answer questions from MPs on Tuesday.
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