Aleksandr Kogan, the professor who collected information on millions of Facebook users for Cambridge Analytica, doesn’t think he did anything wrong but regrets his role in the data mining scandal.
The New York Times, citing comments Kogan made during a 60 Minutes Interview, reported the professor said he was always upfront about how the information would be used and never heard any objections from Facebook. Still, he said his stance on the issue has changed. “Back then, we thought it was fine. Right now my opinion has really been changed,” he said.“I think that the core idea we had — that everybody knows, and nobody cares — was wrong. For that, I am sincerely sorry.” Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, reeling from huge backlash after it was revealed the political consulting firm accessed the information on 87 million Facebook users without their consent, have been trying to blame the professor and his quiz game that was used to gather the data. They contend Kogan misled them about how the data was being collected and what it was being used for. Kogan has even been prohibited from using the social network platform. His profile has been deleted, noted The New York Times.
Kogan defended himself in the interview, arguing that he informed Facebook about what he was doing and that Facebook didn’t care. “The belief in Silicon Valley and certainly our belief at that point was that the general public must be aware that their data is being sold and shared and used to advertise to them,” Kogan said in the 60 Minutes interview. Reports have shown that Kogan’s questionnaire, targeted at Facebook users, said the data could be used for commercial purposes — which would be a violation of Facebook’s rule, but something the social media giant did nothing to stop. “This is the frustrating bit, where Facebook clearly has never cared. I mean, it’s never enforced this agreement,” Kogan told 60 Minutes. “I had a terms of service that was up there for a year and a half that said I could transfer and sell the data. Never heard a word.”