Cambridge Analytica denies using data for Trump campaign, says its cooperating with Facebook

FAN Editor

Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm used by the Trump campaign during the 2016 elections, insisted on Saturday that it did not misuse or hold data obtained from Facebook users, despite having been sanctioned by the platform for doing so.

On Friday, Facebook announced that it had suspended Cambridge Analytica, suggesting the firm had not been honest about deleting user data sent to it by the makers of a popular psychology test app.

That particular app, called “thisisyourdigitallife,” was itself banned by Facebook back in 2015, but the platform has accused Cambridge Analytica of holding that data, despite assurances to the contrary.

“Several days ago, we received reports that, contrary to the certifications we were given, not all data was deleted,” Facebook said in a blog post. “We are moving aggressively to determine the accuracy of these claims. If true, this is another unacceptable violation of trust and the commitments they made.”

Cambridge Analytica stands accused of harvesting Facebook user data to profile voters that that were ultimately targeted by the Trump campaign, which spent over $6 million for information obtained by the firm. Yet on Saturday, Cambridge Analytica issued a statement insisting it “fully complies” with Facebook’s terms of service, and was in touch with the platform to resolve the issue.

“Cambridge Analytica’s Commercial and Political divisions use social media platforms for outward marketing, delivering data-led and creative content to targeted audiences. They do not use or hold data from Facebook profiles,” the firm said, as it sought to distance itself from a company that originally gave them the data.

“In 2014, we contracted a company led by a seemingly reputable academic at an internationally-renowned institution to undertake a large scale research project in the United States,” Cambridge Analytica said.

“This company, Global Science Research (GSR), was contractually committed by us to only obtain data in accordance with the U.K. Data Protection Act and to seek the informed consent of each respondent,” it added.

“When it subsequently became clear that the data had not been obtained by GSR in line with Facebook’s terms of service, Cambridge Analytica deleted all data received from GSR,” Cambridge said.

“We worked with Facebook over this period to ensure that they were satisfied that we had not knowingly breached any of Facebook’s terms of service and also provided a signed statement to confirm that all Facebook data and their derivatives had been deleted,” it added.

Despite Facebook’s claims that Cambridge Analytica used the information in the service of President Donald Trump’s presidential election, the firm dismissed the notion.

“No data from GSR was used by Cambridge Analytica as part of the services it provided to the Donald Trump 2016 presidential campaign,” it said. “Cambridge Analytica only receives and uses data that has been obtained legally and fairly.”

Below is Cambridge Analytica’s full statement:

Cambridge Analytica fully complies with Facebook’s terms of service and is currently in touch with Facebook following its recent statement that it had suspended the company from its platform, in order to resolve this matter as quickly as possible.

Cambridge Analytica’s Commercial and Political divisions use social media platforms for outward marketing, delivering data-led and creative content to targeted audiences. They do not use or hold data from Facebook profiles.

In 2014, we contracted a company led by a seemingly reputable academic at an internationally-renowned institution to undertake a large scale research project in the United States.

This company, Global Science Research (GSR), was contractually committed by us to only obtain data in accordance with the UK Data Protection Act and to seek the informed consent of each respondent. GSR was also contractually the Data Controller (as per Section 1(1) of the Data Protection Act) for any collected data. GSR obtained Facebook data via an API provided by Facebook.

When it subsequently became clear that the data had not been obtained by GSR in line with Facebook’s terms of service, Cambridge Analytica deleted all data received from GSR.

We worked with Facebook over this period to ensure that they were satisfied that we had not knowingly breached any of Facebook’s terms of service and also provided a signed statement to confirm that all Facebook data and their derivatives had been deleted.

No data from GSR was used by Cambridge Analytica as part of the services it provided to the Donald Trump 2016 presidential campaign.

Cambridge Analytica only receives and uses data that has been obtained legally and fairly. Our robust data protection policies comply with US, international, European Union, and national regulations.

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