- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 26, 2018

Facebook didn’t read the terms and conditions of the controversial app that allowed Cambridge Analytica to collect the personal information of millions of Facebook users without their permission, the social network’s chief technology officer testified Thursday.

Appearing before British lawmakers investigating the data scandal, Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer admitted that his company never saw the terms of “ThisIsYourDigitalLife,” a purported personality quiz developed by researcher Aleksandr Kogan that slurped up user information subsequently exploited by Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm later hired by President Trump’s 2016 election campaign.

“We require that people have a terms and conditions and we have an automated check there at the time — this was in 2014, maybe earlier,” Mr. Schroepfer told members of the British House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

“We did not read all of the terms and conditions,” acknowledged Mr. Schroepfer.

Advertised online as “a research tool used by psychologists,” Mr. Kogan’s app was downloaded by about 270,000 users who consequently agreed to provide its developer with their personal Facebook data. The app’s terms allowed developers to collect information about the users’ friends, however, in turn giving Cambridge Analytica information involving roughly 87 million Facebook users before being banned in 2015.

Facebook introduced new policies in the interim prohibiting developers from collecting information from users’ friends and implemented “a proactive review process where if an app developer wanted access to additional data they would have to go to a review with our teams,” said Mr. Schroepfer, The Washington Post reported.

Details about Facebook’s data scandal first emerged last month, and regulators in nations including both the U.K. and U.S. have launched related investigations in the weeks since.

“It’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said earlier this month during a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees.


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