Cambridge Analytica-linked academic spurns idea Facebook swayed election

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Aleksandr Kogan, the academic researcher who harvested personal data from Facebook for a political consultancy firm said that the idea the data was useful in swaying voters’ decisions was “science fiction.”

“People may feel angry and violated if they think their data was used in some kind of mind-control project,” Aleksandr Kogan, the now notorious Cambridge University psychologist whose app collected data on up to 87 million Facebook users, said during a US senate hearing. “This is science fiction. The data is entirely ineffective.” He repeatedly took aim at the field of research – psychometrics – that Cambridge Analytica claimed it could use to predict voters’ psychological traits and influence their votes. “If the goal of Cambridge Analtyica was to show personalized advertisements on Facebook, then what they did was stupid,” Kogan said, arguing that it is much more effective for any advertiser to use Facebook’s own advertising targeting tools. He also said that tech companies are under pressure to "gobble up" more personal information on consumers. "They are under enormous financial pressure to gobble up more and more of our data so they can deliver better and better personalized ads," said Kogan. "And the dirty secret in the industry is that these ads right now are just not that effective. Not useless, but not as effective as we'd want. So companies want more, not less, data, so they can do better."

Cambridge Analytica-linked academic spurns idea Facebook swayed election Tech companies feel pressure to 'gobble up' more of our data for ads, app developer warns (USA Today)