Cambridge Analytica’s harvesting of Facebook data didn’t affect the UK’s Brexit referendum as the data related to US rather than British voters, an investigation has concluded.
According to a report from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), parent company SCL and Global Science Research – which obtained the data of Facebook users and their friends through a quiz app – appear to have considered targeting UK voters, but abandoned the idea.
“From my review of the materials recovered by the investigation I have found no further evidence to change my earlier view that SCL/CA were not involved in the EU referendum campaign in the UK – beyond some initial enquiries made by SCL/CA in relation to UKIP data in the early stages of the referendum process,” writes information commissioner Elizabeth Denham.
“This strand of work does not appear to have then been taken forward by SCL/CA.”
The report concludes a three-year investigation that saw Cambridge Analytica’s offices raided in 2018. It had been alleged that, under Russian influence, the companies had attempted to steer the UK into voting to leave the European Union.
The ICO has confirmed that it found evidence of poor data handling practices, with data held in several locations and shared using personal Gmail accounts.
However, it says that Cambridge Analytica did make some efforts to delete the data when asked by Facebook to do so in 2016. Ironically, the company’s claim that it held 5,000 data points on each of 230 million adult Americans turned out to be a big exaggeration.
But as for evidence of Russian involvement in the Brexit referendum, the ICO said it was not qualified to comment, adding that it had already handed over what evidence it had to the National Crime Agency.
“What is clear is that the use of digital
- Instagram boss Adam Mosseri told Savannah Guthrie on “Today” that there are foreign adversaries trying to use social media to “their own end” ahead of the presidential election.
- “There are definitely foreign adversaries who are trying to use the platforms, or platforms like Instagram, to their own end,” Mosseri said. “We think of the election here in the US in 2020 as a huge test, not only for Instagram and Facebook, but for the industry at large.”
- Mosseri oversaw Facebook’s News Feed during the 2016 election when Russia-linked agents spread disinformation on social media that reached millions of people, particularly on Facebook.
- It was a learning moment for Facebook, Mosseri said, noting that it took Facebook too long to “focus on the negative that can come from connecting so many people at scale.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Instagram boss Adam Mosseri said that foreign adversaries are attempting to use social media to “their own end” ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
Mosseri discussed Instagram’s role in the election during an interview Tuesday with “Today’s” Savannah Guthrie to mark the 10th anniversary of the popular platform. Guthrie questioned Mosseri on whether he thinks there is currently disinformation spreading on Instagram similar to the Russia-backed campaign on Facebook prior to the 2016 election.
“There are definitely foreign adversaries who are trying to use the platforms, or platforms like Instagram, to their own end,” Mosseri told “Today.” “We think of the election here in the US in 2020 as a huge test, not only for Instagram and Facebook, but for the industry at large.”
Mosseri said Instagram is trying to focus on three primary areas ahead of the election: getting out the vote, preventing foreign interference like what happened in 2016, and planning for “complicated” scenarios, though he didn’t go
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