Tech companies like Facebook assume that users know their information is for sale, Cambridge Analytica researcher Aleksandr Kogan, who mined Facebook user data, has said in an interview to CBS News. The researcher who worked at Cambridge University said he had never read the social networking platform’s developer policy, and didn’t know his work would ‘upset so many people’.
Responding to claims that he had lied to Facebook, Kogan said the allegations on him were ‘false’. Asked about selling the data, Kogan said, “I was kinda acting, honestly, quite naively. I thought we were doing everything okay.” He said had he been aware of how his actions would ruin his relationship with Facebook, or impact so many users, he would not have done it.
Aleksandr Kogan said he had created a survey, that would analyse the psychological profiles of respondents, and predict behaviour. In the process, Kogan failed to report that he was secretly after the information of their friends, who would have otherwise been inaccessible. In addition, Cambridge Analytica Alexander Nix bragged about the accuracy of their prediction model. Kogan admitted that he supplied these profile to Cambridge Analytica, and added that he knew they were being used for the 2016 US presidential elections. Critically, he was quoted saying, “I had an understanding or a feeling that it was going to be for the Republican side.”
During the course of the interview that aired on Sunday, Kogan explained how his name got dragged into the data breach that has affected over 87 million users globally, including 73 million in the US. Through his work, Cambridge Analytica first worked for the Ted Cruz campaign, before switching to the Donald Trump camp. Having started at Cambridge as a social psychology lecturer. He also claimed to have a lab, where he ‘studied happiness and kindness’.