Facebook suspends data agency which was reportedly helping Congress win elections

Popular social media website Facebook on Friday suspended political data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica. As per the statement issued by the tech giant, it had found that a Cambridge professor Dr. Aleksandr Kogan violated Facebook’s platform policies by sharing data from his app (which was using Facebook login) to Cambridge Analytica.

As explained by website Tech Crunch, Cambridge Analytica had obtained Facebook user information without taking approval from Facebook. The professor in question developed an app named “thisisyourdigitallife”, which claimed to predict one’s personality. This was downloaded by about 2.7 lakh people who used Facebook login and gave the professor information like location and liked pages etc.

The violation was first encountered in 2015 and has now come to the forefront, after Facebook found out that, Cambridge Analytica and others had failed to completely delete the data they had collected via the aforementioned means.

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The firm is believed to have ‘manipulated sentiments’ of users using its data analytics tools and create an environment in favour of Donald Trump, who had employed them for his presidential campaign.

Incidentally Cambridge Analytica which is now being accused of misusing user data by Facebook itself, was ahead of Gujarat elections, reportedly in talks with the Congress party to make use of big data for winning elections. It was also reported that Cambridge Analytica’s CEO had even met various leaders of the UPA to design its electoral strategy for the 2019 polls.

This raises the question whether the data agency accused of seriously undermining people’s personal information, is currently working with the Congress party? If yes then does it feel comfortable working with such a controversial company? And if not then would the Congress publicly issue a statement dissociating with the big data firm?

If the association between the Congress and Cambridge Analytica is indeed true then this will be another embarrassment for the party in the digital space.

It has been reported how Rahul Gandhi has been accused of boosting his Twitter stats by employing bots from exotic countries like Russia, Kazakhstan and Indonesia. When the bots were exposed the party decided to seek help of “fake girls”, to top up Rahul Gandhi’s image. This is besides the innumerable gaffes the Congress party’s official social media account has committed in recent days.

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