Monday, April 9, 2018

Facebook Suspends Another Data Analytics Firm

Facebook is suspending a Data Analytics firm called CubeYou from the Platform after they were Collecting information about Users through Quizzes. CubeYou Misleadingly labeled its Quizzes "for non-profit academic research," then shared User Information with Marketers. The Scenario is eerily similar to how Cambridge Analytica received Unauthorized Access to Data from as many as 87 Million Facebook User Accounts to Target Political Marketing.

CubeYou, whose CEO denies any Deception, Sold Data that had been Collected by Researchers working with the Psychometrics Lab at Cambridge University, similar to how Cambridge Analytica used Information it obtained from other Professors at the School for Political Marketing.

The CubeYou Discovery suggests that Collecting Data from Quizzes and using it for Marketing purposes was far from an Isolated incident. Moreover, the fact that CubeYou was able to Mislabel the Purpose of the Quizzes, and that Facebook did nothing to Stop it until CNBC pointed out the Problem, suggests the Platform has little Control over this Activity.

Facebook, however, disputed the Implication that it can't Exercise proper Oversight over these types of Apps, saying that it can't Control Information that Companies Mislabel. Upon being notified of CubeYou's alleged Violations, Facebook said it would Suspend All CubeYou's Apps until a further Audit could be completed. "These are serious claims and we have suspended CubeYou from Facebook while we investigate them," Ime Archibong, Facebook Vice President of Product Partnerships, said in a Statement.

"If they refuse or fail our audit, their apps will be banned from Facebook. In addition, we will work with the UK ICO [Information Commissioner's Office] to ask the University of Cambridge about the development of apps in general by its Psychometrics Centre given this case and the misuse by Kogan," he said. Aleksander Kogan was the Researcher who Built the Quiz used by Cambridge Analytica.
"We want to thank CNBC for bringing this case to our attention," Archibong added.

CubeYou boasts on its Website that it uses Census Data and various Web and Social Apps on Facebook and Twitter to collect Personal information. CubeYou then Contracts with Advertising Agencies that want to Target certain types of Facebook Users for Ad Campaigns.
CubeYou's site says it has access to Personally Identifiable Information (PII) such as First Names, Last Names, Emails, Phone Numbers, IP Addresses, Mobile IDs, and Browser Fingerprints.

On a Cached Version of its Website from March 19th, it also said it keeps Age, Gender, Location, Work and Education, and Family and Relationship information. It also has Likes, Follows, Shares, Posts, Likes to Posts, Comments to Posts, Check-Ins, and Mentions of Brands/Celebrities in a Post. Interactions with Companies are Tracked back to 2012 and are Updated Weekly, the site said.

"This PII information of our panelists is used to verify eligibility (we do not knowingly accept panelists under the age of 18 in our panel), then match and/or fuse other online and offline data sources to enhance their profiles," CubeYou wrote. The Company's Website currently Claims it has more than 10 Million Opted-in Panelists, but the Cached March 19th version said it had "an unbiased panel of more than 45 million people globally."

Until 2015, Facebook allowed Developers to Access Information on Facebook Friends as long as the Original App User Opted-In, a Loophole that Expanded the Database of Personal Information considerably. If the Original User still remained Opted-In, CubeYou could theoretically still Access their Data to this day.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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