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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Facebook data controversy: Cambridge Analytica used in Nigeria election – Whistleblower

The Cambridge Analytica whistleblower over the use of Facebook generated data, Christopher Wylie has revealed that Nigeria may have benefited from their services during the 2015 general elections, reports ITRealms.

Speaking to Hola Gorani Tonight on Cable News Network (CNN) monitored in Lagos by ITRealms on Monday night, Wylie said the Facebook data collected from unsuspecting users have been used to influence elections in various countries of the world including Nigeria and United States of America.

ITRealms gathered that following Wylie exposure of Facebook role in the data controversy rocking both United Kingdom and America, his Facebook account has been suspended.

"Suspended by Facebook. For blowing the whistle. On something they have known privately for two years," Wylie tweeted on Sunday. Just as his account on Instagram, which is also owned by Facebook, had also been suspended.

Facebook equally said it would be conducting its review without Wylie's help.

Responding to why suspending Wylie’s accounts, a lawyer at Facebook, Paul Grewal, said, "Mr. Wylie has refused to cooperate with us until we lift the suspension on his account,

He told CNN on Sunday that "Given he said he 'exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people's profiles,' we cannot do this (lift suspension) at this time."

ITRealms recalls that this has been the latest twist in a complicated story that has played out over the last few days via statements from Facebook (FB), an investigative report by The New York Times and London's The Observer, and revelations from the people involved.

Wylie was a data analyst for Cambridge Analytica, the controversial data firm that worked for President Donald Trump's campaign. He shared evidence of the company's activities with the two newspapers, as well as reportedly with cybercrime investigators in the United Kingdom. Over the weekend, he also spoke on British television about how the company was reportedly able to harvest data from 50 million Facebook profiles.

Wylie told UK’s Channel 4 at the weekend, that getting those data "allowed us to move into the hearts and minds of American voters in a way that had never been done before."

In addition, Facebook also suspended Cambridge Analytica from its platform on last Friday, saying in a blog post that the company had learned in 2015 that user data was shared with a political data group in violation of Facebook's terms. Facebook said they received certifications at the time that all copies of the data had been destroyed.

In a statement, Cambridge Analytica maintained "that all Facebook data and their derivatives" was deleted. It also says it did not use any of that data in its work for Trump's campaign.

According to the CNN, the revelations prompted renewed scrutiny of how Facebook was used to reach and influence voters ahead of the 2016 US presidential election.

Under fire from politicians in the United States and the United Kingdom, Facebook said on Sunday afternoon it was conducting an internal and external review to determine if Facebook data provided to Cambridge Analytica still existed.

The New York Times reported that Cambridge Analytica still possesses most or all of the data, according to interviews with a half-dozen former employees and contractors.
Facebook acknowledged in the blog post it has "received reports that, contrary to the certifications we were given, not all data was deleted."

The UK's Information Commissioner's Office said in a new statement on Monday that it was investigating the use of Facebook data by Cambridge Analytica.


Chuks Egbune/GEE

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