UK MP slams Facebook’s answers on privacy scandal as “typically disingenuous”

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Tech giant Facebook is being accused of producing inconsistent and contradictory evidence with regards to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. UK MP and chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS) Mr. Damian Collins had called the evidence “typically disingenuous” and wrote to the company to seek “clarity.”

Mr. Collins wrote to Sir Nick Clegg, who is the chief of Facebook’s communications, about how the evidence given to Westminster is in conflict with the information published by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

He highlighted the SEC’s statement which stated that Facebook first learned about the Cambridge Analytica Scandal after its employees requested an investigation in September 2015. On the other hand, Facebook’s CTO had however told the UK MPs that the company had learned about the scandal from a newspaper report published by the Guardian in December 2015.

Facebook defended itself by saying that the dates and references highlighted by Damian referred to two different incidents. Furthermore, the company also added that its representatives were “entirely consistent” with regards to the two incidents.

According to Facebook, the first date of September 2015 referred to the time when its employees first caught a whiff of Cambridge Analytica promoting its offering of being able to scrape data from Facebook’s public pages.

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The second incident in December 2015 was when the company had first known that Cambridge Analytica obtained data illicitly through Dr. Aleksandr Kogan, who in return gathered all the information from a personality app.

Mr. Collins had also raised concerns about how long it took for the company to bring the scandal to the CEO’s attention. In the past, Facebook had said that Mark Zuckerberg wasn’t notified about the fact that Cambridge Analytica kept Kogan’s data despite being asked to delete it.

In connection to the above claim, Rebecca Stimson, Facebook’s UK public policy chief said that “Cambridge Analytica further certified that it had never used the data for commercial purposes. Facebook employees, therefore, believed as early as January 2016 that the situation had been resolved.”

Mr. Collins seemed dissatisfied by the explanations provided by Facebook. He tweeted saying that, “They didn't previously disclose to us concerns about Cambridge Analytica prior to December 2015 or say what they did about it and haven't shared results of investigations into other apps.”

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Naga Pramod

Naga Pramod is a computer science major and tech news reporter with a passion for cyber security, networking, and data science. [email protected]