Did Not Use Indian Facebook Users’ Data, Cambridge Analytica Tells Indian Govt

Cambridge Analytica says that it did not use data of users in India obtained from Facebook for its work.


Cambridge Analytica, the United Kingdom based analytics company that used Facebook users’ data for political campaigns, told the Indian government that it did not use data of Indians mined from the social media platform, according to a report.

“(Cambridge Analytica) said it has done surveys in India and followed proper guidelines and procedures for that and that it doesn’t have data of Indians (illegally obtained through Facebook). It’s a very crisp reply,” a senior official told the Economic Times.

The controversial organization’s answer was in response to a notice sent by the Indian government in March about whether it used Facebook data of Indians for its work on elections in India.

However, according to Facebook, more than five lakh people were potentially affected in India. “A total of 562,455 people in India” may have been affected by the unauthorized sharing of data with Cambridge Analytica, Facebook said on April 5. The personality quiz application, called “thisismydigitallife,” was downloaded by 335 users in India on Facebook and an additional 562,120 people were potentially affected.

The British company’s work was exposed by whistleblower Christopher Wylie, who said that Cambridge Analytica did work for Bihar elections in 2010. The Congress and other Indian political parties have been at loggerheads, blaming each other for using Cambridge Analytica’s services.

Facebook, however, has said that it did not agree to Cambridge Analytica’s  use of any Facebook user data.

Facebook has been in damage control mode and has been trying to assure users and investors about its security measures. It said that it is investigating apps that have access to large amounts of information and will be conducting audits of apps that have suspicious activity. It also announced more security features for the social network.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also said that its major focus this year is to improve security so that the integrity of elections is not compromised. India will have the next general elections in 2019.

“In the U.S. Senate Alabama special election last year, we successfully deployed some new artificial intelligence (AI) tools that removed Macedonian trolls who were trying to spread information during the election. We now have about 15,000 people working on security and content review and we’ll have more than 20,000 by the end of this year,” Zuckerberg said on April 4.

“This is going to be a big year for elections ahead with the U.S. midterms and elections in India, Brazil, Mexico, Pakistan, Hungary, and others. This is going to be a major focus for us,” he said.

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