The revelations that Cambridge Analytica used the personal information of approximately 80 million Facebook users during recent elections has sounded alarms in the offices of election commissions from around the world.
Elections seem to be the latest addition to the long list of industries that are being radically transformed by Big Data.
As reported by the Observer, the Guardian, the Times and other important outlets, Cambridge Analytica used data from Facebook users in the United States, the Philippines, Mexico and Brazil to build psychographic profiles of potential voters and influence their opinions more efficiently.
After the disclosure of this privacy violation, which was allegedly used by Donald Trump’s campaign command, other countries have denounced the firm alleging that it may have created discredit campaigns to manipulate the election results.
In Nigeria there are suspicions that the firm used media to disclose a video with violent content to discredit a presidential candidate and influence the election results.
The Government of the United Kingdom is also conducting an investigation to know how much Cambridge Analytica influenced the users and potential voters for the Brexit.
Here we give you some small data on what the Cambridge Analytica scandal and Facebook in the United States meant:
What was the cause of the scandal?
In 2013 researcher Aleksandr Kogan of the University of Cambridge created a personality test for Facebook. Some 300,000 users did it giving permission to the app to see all their information, which allowed Kogan to see not only those data but those of more than 87 million users around the world.
What information did the app collect?
The personality test created by Kogan had access to information such as: gender, location, political and religious tastes, what websites you like and all public information on Facebook.
How was the information used?
Dr Kogan revealed that his company Global Science Research sold the information to Cambridge Analytica, which used this data to create a personality prediction tool to create publicity to influence voters. This campaign is presumed to have been executed during the 2016 elections in the United States, directly by the Donald Trump team.
From which countries were the most affected users?
Users from the United States (70 million), the Philippines (1,175,000), Indonesia (1,096,000), the United Kingdom (1,079,000), Mexico (789,000), Canada (622,000), India (562,000), Brazil (443,000), Vietnam (427,000) and Australia (311,000) were the most affected.