Recent reports in The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Observer have highlighted that Cambridge Analytica allegedly misused the profiles of 50 million Facebook users as part of a campaign to manipulate voters. Furthermore, the reports suggest that Facebook failed to respond appropriately when it learned of Cambridge’s misuse of profile information.
What is the Facebook Data Breach?
Cambridge Analytica allegedly gathered the private information of more than 50 million Facebook users, without the users’ permission. That data was then reportedly taken for analysis in an effort to influence voter behavior. Furthermore, reporters investigating the Facebook data breach say Cambridge not only misused profile information, it still has most or all of the private data it collected despite assuring Facebook it had deleted that information.
How did Cambridge Get the Private Information?
According to reports, Cambridge got the information from a third-party researcher who said the information was being collected for research. Users were paid a small amount of money to take a personality quiz and download an app. That app then took private information from the quiz-takers Facebook profile, but also from the profiles of their friends.
Of 50 million profiles collected and sent to Cambridge, 30 million had in-depth information, including places of residence, and Cambridge built psychographic profiles based on that information. In fact, only approximately 270,000 users ever agreed to have their data collected, and those were the users who agreed to take the survey. Their Facebook friends did not agree to have their data collected and those who took the survey only agreed to have their data harvested for academic purposes.
What is Facebook’s Role in the Data Breach?
Investigative reports suggest that Facebook found out about the data breach in 2015 but failed to properly secure user information and did not warn the public that user profiles were illegally accessed. Although Facebook reportedly sent a letter to Cambridge demanding that the data be destroyed, the social media site reportedly did not take proper action to ensure Cambridge followed through on promises to get rid of the data it collected.
Contact an Attorney
At Cutter Law, we’re committed to protecting the rights of our clients. We are highly experienced at taking on large companies on behalf of the people harmed by them. We were part of a class action settlement against Facebook that changed how Facebook refunds minors and their parents.
Your right to privacy is vital. If you are concerned that your data was mishandled by Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, contact an attorney at Cutter Law today to discuss your situation. We can advise you of your rights and your options.