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A blog by Leon Oudejans

Cambridge University embroiled in second Facebook data scandal (Telegraph)

23 August 2018


“An app created by Cambridge University academics has been shut down amid concerns it was improperly harvesting Facebook users’ data. Four million to receive Facebook warning.

Around 2012, quiz app “mypersonality” became a hit with Facebook users. After adding it to their profile, it asked several questions in return for a personality scoring which gave insight into the kind of person they were.

Little did users know, but the app was simultaneously collecting personal information from their Facebook profile and interactions.

The game was the work of Cambridge University’s Dr Stillwell but was linked to Dr Aleksandr Kogan, who infamously created an app that mined the data of an estimated 87m people and sold it to Cambridge Analytica, the political consultancy.

Facebook will notify the roughly 4 million people who chose to share their Facebook information with myPersonality that it may have been misused.


Facebook launched an investigation into apps on its platform in March, after the scale of the Cambridge Analytica scandal emerged.

It has investigated thousands of apps since and suspended more than 400 over concerns about how the developers who built them used the information.

In the case of Cambridge Analytica, the Facebook data was bought with the purpose of targeting specific groups of people with political campaigns.


It is unclear whether the mypersonality app passed on any of the data on the four million Facebook users to a third party. Facebook said it is unsure whether the information of Facebook users’ friends was also collected – but will notify victims if that is the case.

The Cambridge University academic behind the app have refused to work with Facebook employees to conduct an audit. However, Facebook said it will continue to investigate exactly what was going on.

Most of the data collection happened between 2007 and 2012, when the app became a viral hit.”



“This just in…


The story | Apple says it has removed an app created by Facebook that claims to keep people’s internet browsing private, because it collected too much information on other software that customers had installed on their phones. [CNBC]

Telegraph take | Facebook has just announced a ban on an app over data collection concerns. Now it is accused of creating an app that collects data on the apps installed on its customers’ smartphones. The irony will not be lost on Mark Zuckerberg, we’re sure.”



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