The conversation surrounding the data we put online continues to heat up. Bloomberg reports that in 2015, Twitter sold access to randomly selected tweets to Aleksandr Kogan, the individual who created the personality quiz that Cambridge Analytica then used to harvest Facebook user data. Working under his own commercial enterprise, Global Science Research, Mr. Kogan gained access to a random sampling of five months of Twitter posts, covering the dates of December 2014 to April 2015. As of the date of this blog post, Twitter has not provided any further details other than confirming that it provided access to this public data information through its application programming interface, known as API, and that Global Science Research paid for this access. While at this stage, not much is known about Global Science Research’s purpose for accessing this data, it becomes yet another example of a social media company sharing its users’ information, this time for a price. In our interconnected world, it will be interesting to see if social media users begin to retreat from sharing information online or whether such practice is already too entrenched in our day to day life to experience a shift.
In the wake of the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal, another social media company, Grindr, a gay dating app, has come under scrutiny for its sharing of sensitive personal information with third parties. In particular, Norwegian research outfit SINTEF, after analyzing Grindr’s traffic, alleges that Grindr shares its users’ disclosed HIV status and last tested date , GPS location and other demographic profile information with third parties.
Facebook is the subject of a recent media blitz due to the allegations that 50 million people had their information improperly disclosed to Cambridge Analytica, a data research firm that may have played a role in the 2016 election.
The premise of the allegations is that Cambridge Analytica sent out a personality test to roughly 270,000 of Facebook’s users, stating that it would use the test for academic purposes. However, allegedly, Cambridge Analytica collected the personal information not only of those who replied to the survey, but also of all of those individuals’ Facebook “friends.” By doing so, the 270,000 users extrapolated to 50 million users. Continue Reading Facebook In Hot Water With Latest Privacy Missteps