Cambridge Analytica Professor Defends Himself In '60 Minutes' Apology

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“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," said Aleksandr Kogan.

The professor who Cambridge Analytica hired to harvest data from Facebook users expressed regret for his role in the collection scheme while speaking on “60 Minutes” on Sunday.

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.”

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

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