The claims of British firm Cambridge Analytica of completely deleting data of more than 50 million Facebook users might not be completely true if reports are to be believed.
UK Channel 4 News has reported that the cache campaign data from a Cambridge Analytica source allegedly details 136,000 individuals in Colorado, US. The details reportedly include information on each person’s personality and their psychological profile.
The report says, “The data, which dates from 2014, was used by Cambridge Analytica to target specific messages at residents who would be most susceptible to them.”
The Colorado dataset along with the similar data for Oregon indicates that the Facebook-derived data still exists despite claims which stated otherwise.
The data may have been passed around through generic, non-corporate email systems, outside of the servers of Cambridge Analytica, and linked company SCL, the report states.
Cambridge Analytica has been accused of promoting pro-Brexit movement and also influencing the 2016 American presidential elections.
From 2014, Cambridge Analytica obtained data of as many as 50 million Facebook users. In an interview to journalist Carole Cadwalladr, the 28-year-old former employee of CA Chris Wylie revealed that the company acquired data in 2014, via an app named thisisyourdigitallife, which was built by Aleksandr Kogan, an academic at Cambridge University. Although this app was downloaded by 2,70,000 Facebook users, it also pulled in data of the users’ other Facebook friends. This allowed CA to harvest data of about 50 million users without consent. The information campaigns then used the data to customise their strategy or “micro-target” to influence users based on their preferences and vulnerabilities.
Kogan said that he was not aware that his tool was being used illegally.