Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and data mining: What you need to know
Consultants working for Donald Trump's presidential campaign exploited the personal Facebook data of millions.
That's the key message in March 17 stories by The New York Times and the UK's Guardian and Observer newspapers, as well as in statements from Facebook. The stories and statements indicate the social networking giant was duped by researchers, who reportedly gained access to the data of more than 50 million Facebook users, which was then misused for political ads during the 2016 US presidential election.
Until now, most of what you've heard about Facebook and the 2016 election has been focused on meddling by Russian operatives. Those efforts are being investigated by the FBI and the US Senate.
Data consultancy Cambridge Analytica represents a different problem. The company reportedly acquired data about millions of Facebook usersin a way that violated the social network's policies. It then tapped that information to build psychographic profiles of users and their friends, which were utilized for targeted political ads in the UK's Brexit referendum campaign, as well as by Trump's team during the 2016 US election.