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Academic Behind Cambridge Analytica Data Mining Sues Facebook for Defamation



WASHINGTON – The academic who helped Cambridge Analytica vacuum up private information from millions of millions Facebook profiles sued the social media on Friday, arguing that the company defamed him when it claimed he had been about how the data was going to be used.

Since the full scope of Cambridge Analytica's data mining was revealed last year, Facebook has repeatedly tried to shift the privacy breach onto the academic, Aleksandr Kogan. Facebook executives – including the chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg – have said Mr. Kogan told us that the data was for academic purposes when it was being collected for use in political campaigns.

Mr. Kogan, 32, a former psychology professor, used a quiz app to collect the data, and has insisted that the fine print accompanying his app said the information could be used commercially. That was an outright violation of Facebook's rules at the time, but the company does not appear to have regularly checked that apps were complying.

“Alex did not lie, Alex was not a fraud, Alex did not deceive them, this was not a scam, ”said Steve Cohen, a lawyer for Mr. Kogan. “You just knew what this app was doing, or should have known. Facebook desperately needed a scapegoat, and Alex was their scapegoat. ”

Mr. Cohen said Mr. The quota was not asking for any specific amount of money. "We're going to leave that to a jury," he said.

In a statement, Liz Bourgeois, a spokeswoman for Facebook, described the action as a "frivolous lawsuit" from someone who "violated our policies and put people's data at risk. ”

Cambridge Analytica was founded by Robert Mercer, a wealthy Republican donor, and Stephen K. Bannon, who would serve as an adviser to President Trump. The consulting firm rose to prominence in 2016 for its work with the Trump election campaign.

The company claimed it had used Facebook data and other information to develop analytical tools that could identify the personalities of American voters and influence their behavior. Those techniques have been widely questioned.


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