Did Cambridge Analytica attain other ill-gotten Facebook data?
Could this be just the beginning of a much bigger Cambridge Analytica scandal for Facebook? The answer rides on how transparent Facebook is actually being right now. CEO Mark Zuckerberg just put forth a statement and plan to improve data privacy, but omitted some of the most grievous inquiries — and stopped short of apologizing.
Exactly how Facebook handled the multi-year fiasco could be core to whether the public forgets and goes back to scrolling their News Feed, or whether users leave en masse while government regulators swoop in. With journalists around the world digging in and government officials calling for Zuckerberg to testify, the truth is likely to trickle out. Here’s what we want to know:
- To what extent did Facebook vigorously investigate whether Cambridge Analytica had actually deleted all its Facebook user data back in 2015 when it made it promise to do so, and why didn’t it inform the public of the situation? (When did Zuckerberg find out? Was Facebook concerned about appearing liberal and for investigating a conservative political organization?)
- How could Facebook not know Cambridge Analytica was using ill-gotten Facebook data when Facebook employees worked directly with the Donald Trump campaign? (Facebook employees worked side by side with Cambridge Analytica in Trump’s San Antonio campaign office, so did they look the other way about suspicious data?)
- Did Cambridge Analytica attain illicit Facebook data from any other sources besides Aleksandr Kogan’s app, such as from other apps it operated, scraping Facebook group membership or buying data from other developers? (Was the Trump campaign’s masterful use of Facebook and other social media powered by more than just this one data set, perhaps even from other social networks?)
- Is there any evidence that data from Russian hackers or the government was used by Cambridge Analytica to inform Trump’s campaign marketing? (If so, could Facebook be the smoking gun of potential collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign?)
- Is Facebook retaining data, ads or posts connected to Cambridge Analytica for further investigation? (If Cambridge Analytica did misuse data, what content was powered by that misuse, and who else pitched in?)
- Why did Facebook try to suppress the stories about Cambridge Analytica from news outlets like The Observer with legal threats if it’s so serious about atoning for the scandal? (Who authorized or conducted those threats, and what’s happened to them since?)
- How will Facebook ensure the security of user data attained by apps given that there could be tons of developers storing multiple separate copies of the data, beyond the big or suspicious ones Facebook plans to audit? (Should the public expect more news of app data misuse by other developers?)