Facebook in hot water as the FTC examines possible violation of 2011 consent decree (VIDEO)
The other day, we told you about a company called Cambridge Analytica. According to the New York Times, the consulting firm, hired by the Trump campaign in 2016, got its hands on as many as 50 million Facebook profiles without permission. The latter was used to create psychological profiles of voters. The Trump campaign employed the data to determine the areas of the country where it needed to place more ads or arrange for a personal appearance by the candidate.
When the story first broke, the Times characterized the use of the Facebook profiles as a data breach, a term that Facebook says is not correct. The data was first obtained by a Russian-American psychology professor by the name of Aleksandr Kogan, who was supposed to have been legally harvesting the information for research reasons only. However, as detailed by emails, Kogan was in contact with Cambridge Analytica co-founder Christopher Wylie about using the data to come up with personality traits of the 50 million Facebook subscribers. Among the information that the professor claimed he could determine, was the individual political leanings of each subscriber.
Whether or not the information was obtained by Cambridge Analytica via a data breach, it seems that the FTC believes that it might have been received by them illegally. Today and tomorrow, hearings will be held in Washington. The FTC will try to determine whether the actions constituted a violation of a 2011 consent decree signed by Facebook. The consent decree was written to protect the personal information and data of Facebook subscribers by allowing the use of this information only with permission from the subscriber.
Cambridge Analytica reportedly still has most of the data, and was able to match 30 million Facebook users to other records and create profiles of them. The consulting firm, its co-founder Wylie, current CEO Alexander Nix and Russian-American professor Kogan have all been suspended by Facebook. The company was spanked hard on Wall Street where it lost 7% of its value on Monday and another 4% Tuesday afternoon. CEO Mark Zuckerberg saw his net worth drop by almost $5 billion as the social networking company's market cap fell under $500 billion.
Meanwhile, a video released today by Britiain's Channel 4 shows hidden camera footage of Cambridge Analytica CEO Nix boasting that his company helped get Donald Trump elected president in 2016. Even though the company is headquartered in Delaware, the executive said that American authorities have no jurisdiction over the firm. Considering that Hillary Clinton had 3 million more votes than Trump in the Popular Vote count, and that the difference in the Electoral College was the result of only 40,000 well placed votes, the idea that Cambridge Analytica might have had a hand in the results of the 2016 presidential election is not a conspiracy theory. Moments ago, Cambridge Analytica announced that it has suspended its CEO, Alexander Nix, because of the comments he made on the hidden camera video.