Data of 50M Facebook users obtained by Trump-linked firm

Illustration by Alex Castro  The Verge

It said the parent company's SCL Elections unit hired Kogan to undertake "a large scale research project in the US", but subsequently deleted all data it received from Kogan's company after learning that Kogan had obtained data in violation of Facebook policies.

"The professor lied to us and violated our platform policies by passing data from an app that was using FB login to SCL/Cambridge Analytica, which does political, government and military work around the globe".

Thirty million of the profiles provided by Kogan contained enough information for the firm to create psychographic profiles, according to the Times, which reported that only 270,000 people had given permission for their data to be collected.

The Observer said Cambridge Analytica used the data, taken without authorisation in early 2014, to build a software program to predict and influence choices at the ballot box.

President Uhuru Kenyatta shakes US President Donald Trump's hand before a performance by the La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra in the ancient Greek theatre as part of the G7 Summit in Taormina, Sicily, Italy, May 26, 2017. Also in the dossier is an August 2016 letter from Facebook lawyers instructing Wylie to destroy any data collected by Global Science Research, Kogan's front company.

The New York Times said interviews with half a dozen former Cambridge Analytica employees and contractors, and a review of the firm's emails and documents, revealed it not only relied on the private Facebook data but still possesses most or all of it. "Cambridge Analytica overstates their capabilities because they play in the shadows".

In a truly fascinating video for the Guardian, whistleblower Christopher Wylie explains how the company, headed by Steve Bannon and funder by billionaire Robert Mercer, used backdoor access to Facebook profiles to mine personal data.

Facebook banks its reputation on trust, and people working with Facebook in some manner who violate that trust can bring massive consequences for the social media giant's own perception in the public sphere.

The BBC reports that Facebook have indicated that have evidence that Cambridge Analytica plus associates had not destroyed all the data that was obtained. The newspaper said its reporters "viewed a set of raw data from the profiles Cambridge Analytica obtained". "That was the basis that the entire company was built on", Wylie said. He says: "We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people's profiles". "He did, however, misuse that data after he gathered it". According to Facebook, Cambridge Analytica claimed to have complied, but Facebook says it became aware this week that "not all data was deleted".

Instead, Cambridge Analytica's former director of research calls his whistleblowing a crisis of conscience.

Further, the note tries to put the responsibility of controlling such information on the user, but highlighting a the "ways we give people the tools to control their experience". He said the practice of psychographics "doesn't work", but he said he doesn't believe it's "sinister".

"We will take whatever steps are required to see that the data in question is deleted once and for all - and take action against all offending parties", Grewal said in a statement Saturday.

In a statement, a Cambridge Analytica spokesperson denied any wrongdoing.

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