Academic behind Facebook breach says he is a ‘scapegoat’

Facebook has been rocked this week by a whistleblower who said that Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based political firm hired by Trump for the 2016 campaign, had improperly accessed information on 50 million Facebook users. (Reuters)
Updated 21 March 2018
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Academic behind Facebook breach says he is a ‘scapegoat’

LONDON: A Cambridge University academic who harvested data on millions of Facebook users said he has been made a scapegoat by the social network and a UK-based political consultancy that is accused of trying to sway public opinion for Donald Trump.
Facebook has been rocked this week by a whistleblower who said that Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based political firm hired by Trump for the 2016 campaign, had improperly accessed information on 50 million Facebook users.
The company has lost $60 billion of its stock market value over the last two days over fears that its dealings with Cambridge Analytica might damage its reputation, deter advertisers and invite tougher regulation.
Facebook has said the data was harvested by Aleksandr Kogan, a psychology academic, who created an app on the platform that was downloaded by 270,000 people. It says he then violated its policies by passing the data to Cambridge Analytica.
“The events of the past week have been a total shell shock,” Kogan told the BBC. “My view is that I’m being basically used as a scapegoat by both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica when... we thought we were doing something that was really normal.
“We were assured by Cambridge Analytica that everything was perfectly legal and within the terms of service.”
Alexander Nix, the head of Cambridge Analytica who was suspended on Tuesday, said in a secretly recorded video that his company had played a decisive role in Trump’s election victory.
But Kogan said the accuracy of the dataset had been “exaggerated” by Cambridge Analytica, and that the information was more likely to hurt Trump’s campaign.


The Six: The UAE’s most Googled people in 2018

UAE's most Googled people in 2018. (Shutterstock)
Updated 17 December 2018
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The Six: The UAE’s most Googled people in 2018

DUBAI: Google recently released its list of the world’s most searched for topics in 2018 and the UAE’s list of the most googled personalities show just how celebrity obsessed we all are at heart.

If you’re late to the party, grab your phone and google these famous names now.

Meghan Markle
The American-born British royal was the most googled personality in the world in 2018 — and UAE-based Internet users mirrored that trend.

Nick Jonas
The second most googled personality in the UAE this year climbed to new heights of fame when he married Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra in December.

Logan Paul
Third on the list is disgraced YouTube star Logan Paul, who was widely criticized at the beginning of the year when he uploaded a video that showed the body of an apparent suicide victim in Japan.

Sylvester Stallone
Fourth on the list is “Rocky” star Stallone, who also happens to be the most searched for actor in the world this year.

Freddie Mercury
The UAE’s fifth most googled personality is rock legend Freddie Mercury — most likely due to the release of hit film “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Sonam Kapoor
The Bollywood actress rounds out the list of the UAE’s six most googled personalities and her headline-making nuptials in 2018 could be the reason.