He failed to disclose that what he was really after was access to their friends and that he was doing the survey for Cambridge Analytica which used the material to influence people on how to vote. (2/2) #60Minutes pic.twitter.com/lkVaiENxTd— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) April 22, 2018
Aleksandr Kogan, who designed the now-infamous personality quiz which was used to collect data on tens of millions of users, apologized but also said Facebook is manipulating its role in the scandal.
“This is the frustrating bit, where Facebook clearly has never cared. I mean, it never enforced this agreement. They’ll let you know if you do anything wrong. I had a terms of service that was up there for a year and a half that said I could transfer and sell the data. Never heard a word,” Kogan said. “The belief in Silicon Valley, and certainly our belief at that point, was that the general public must be aware that their data is being sold and shared and used to advertise to them.”
Aleksandr Kogan: The link between Cambridge Analytica and Facebook--— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) April 23, 2018
Mark Zuckerberg has been the one testifying before Congress, but the scientist at the heart of the biggest privacy scandal on Earth has largely stayed out of the spotlight, until now. https://t.co/gdSKA9l7e1
Kogan's half apology should be recognized as an incomplete acknowledgment of his role in the undermining of user privacy. His statements help elucidate the disconnect between social media users and developers. Similarly, Zuckerberg has attempted to accuse others of being the main perpetrators of privacy violations.
When appearing before Congress to testify about the data mining scandal, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sought to place the blame on Kogan and depict the Cambridge Analytica scandal as an outlier. But Kogan said that the policy of collecting and selling data from users is actually standard operating practice.
Zuckerberg’s strategy to minimize his responsibility in the scandal appears to be exposing the platform’s deeper functioning. The Facebook CEO’s attempt to shirk responsibility for how developers use his platform seems to be somewhat backfiring, as it appears Kogan has no intention of being the scapegoat for what he claims is platform-wide abuse.
With Kogan speaking about alleged systemic violation of user privacy, the public may be getting a better glimpse of just how much the tech giant knows about each individual user and what information it has been tracking.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: REUTERS, Henry Nicholls