An investigation shows the researchers from the University of Cambridge exposed data of 3 million Facebook users through questionnaires and quizzes.
The data of the users was collected through information collected through personality quiz apps, giving access to hundreds of researchers through a website that doesn’t provide proper security measures. The lack of security gave access over four years, with easy access to the data.
The sensitive data gives personal information about users including results of psychological tests, with intentions of being store and share anonymously. The data stored with attached user names and account information, leaving opportunity for misuse.
The personality quiz app, myPersonality app, collected the data of over 6 million users and half agreeing to share data from their Facebook account. The privacy agreement was to collect the data and remove the users personal account names before sharing the results publicly on their website.
The exact terms of the agreement with sharing Facebook user data with myPersonality to us and distribute data “in an anonymous manner such that the information cannot be traced back to the individual user”.
The agreement also stated that the researcher who can gain access to this information need to register as a project collaborator. Those who were denied access due to lack of a permanent academic contract have a loophole.
Through the search engine results there are user logins and password so any can gain access through a simple search, giving anyone access to download. The app also gained access to researchers for commercial companies, complying with strict data protection procedure and are non-profitable.
This discovery is due to Facebook auditing apps for investigation on whether there is possible misuse of data, through suspending 200 apps. Facebook is giving the myPersonality app the choice to comply with their investigation or be banned.the publicly available credentials no longer working.
The app myPersonality was approached by the data firm, Cabridge Analytica, for data access with myPersonality confirming that they denied them access due to their ‘political agenda’.
The website for myPersonality has been taken down with publicly available credentials no longer working. This shows that through the Facebook audit that the companies who have misused data will be revealed, creating better privacy measures for Facebook users.
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