The Cambridge Analytica row strikes again, and this time it’s the users of Twitter who are showing their outrage after news came that the Twitter Inc. had sold data access to the very same Cambridge University Academic who siphoned up Facebook user’s data.
Aleksandr Kogan, the man who started it all by creating a Facebook personality quiz which siphoned off user data which was later exploited by Cambridge Analytica, had established his commercial venture called Global Science Research (GSR). This GSR was given access for one day in 2015 to large-scale public Twitter data according to the social media platform.
The social media platform offered a half-hearted statement to Bloomberg saying, “In 2015, GSR did have one-time API access to a random sample of public tweets from a five-month period from December 2014 to April 2015.”
Moreover, “Based on the recent reports, we conducted our internal review and did not find any access to private data about people who use Twitter.”
The firm has since struck off Cambridge Analytica and its associates from its list of advertisers. As for GSR, the firm only mentioned that the firm had paid for the access and refused to offer any more details.
According to its practice, social media platform does facilitate select firms, developers, users access to their public data via APIs or programs that the requests and delivers data. The idea is that the company makes a profit from selling the data, while organizations upon purchase usually tend to use the data to analyze customer loyalty, engagement, and other factors.
However, it is strictly against its policy as well as against the law of the land for Twitter to offer direct messaging data of the users up for sale. The social media platform’s “data licensing and other revenue” is thriving and is churning out a whopping $90 million in the first quarter. However, it will be catastrophic for the publicly traded company if it came into light that it had sold private user data, or anyone was able to get private messaging data of Twitter users by some loophole that was in Twitter’s algorithm.