Posted on April 12, 2018 by staff

Tech on Twitter: Is Zuck a robot?


Mark Zuckerberg faced two days of questioning in Congress this week in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The Facebook chief revealed that his own data was compromised along with up to 87 million users of the social media platform.

Cambridge University academic Aleksandr Kogan developed a Facebook app which featured a personality quiz called ‘thisisyourdigitallife’ and Cambridge Analytica paid people to take it.

As well as the quiz results and the user’s Facebook account data, however, it also collected the data of their Facebook friends as well – which is strictly against Facebook’s rules.

Zuckerberg told politicians that there may be something “bad” going on at Cambridge University.

“What we found now is that there’s a whole programme associated with Cambridge University where… there were a number of other researchers building similar apps.

“We do need to understand whether there is something bad going on at Cambridge University overall that will require a stronger action from us.”

This was in reference to the university’s psychometrics centre, which is reported to have worked with Cambridge Analytica on ways to predict human behaviour – a claim denied by Cambridge University.

The institution said it was “surprised” that Zuckerberg had only now become aware of its psychographics work. “Our researchers have been publishing such research since 2013 in major peer-reviewed scientific journals, and these studies have been reported widely in international media.

“These have included one study in 2015 led by Dr Aleksandr Spectre [Kogan] and co-authored by two Facebook employees.”

So what did Twitter make of Zuck’s Washington performance – both serious and not?