Twitter sold public data access to Aleksandr Kogan, the Cambridge University academic who also obtained millions of Facebook users’ information that was later passed to a political consulting firm without the users’ consent. Twitter confirmed the development first to UK newspaper the Telegraph (link behind paywall). Kogan, who created a personality quiz on Facebook to harvest information which he later sold to Cambridge Analytica, established his own commercial enterprise, Global Science Research (GSR). That firm was granted access to large-scale public Twitter data, covering months of posts, for one day in 2015, according to Twitter. “In 2015, GSR did have one-time API access to a random sample of public tweets from a five-month period from December 2014 to April 2015,” Twitter told Bloomberg. “Based on the recent reports, we conducted our own internal review and did not find any access to private data about people who use Twitter.” The company has removed Cambridge Analytica and affiliated entities as advertisers. Twitter said GSR paid for the access; it provided no further details. Cambridge Analytica has also commented on the issue, telling Reuters that, never received Twitter data from GSR or Aleksandr Kogan, and has never done any work with GSR on Twitter data. Who is Aleksandr Kogan? In 2015, Aleksandr Kogan, a psychology professor at Cambridge University, created an app named “thisisyourdigitallife” that promised to predict aspects of users’ personalities. Around 270,000 people downloaded the app and signed in using their Facebook accounts, giving Kogan access to information about their city of…
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