The data misuse scandal that Facebook finds itself in has led to many problems for the company. It’s facing lawsuits and inquiries by forums such as the United States Congress. The scandal broke about a week ago when it was revealed that a company called Cambridge Analytica had harvested data of more than 50 million Facebook users through a quiz app. While the company says that it has deleted all of the data that was collected at that time, a new report claims that’s not the case.
UK broadcaster Channel 4 reports that it has come across a cache of the data that was harvested by Cambridge Analytica which has information on 136,000 individuals from Colorado. The data includes their personality results and the psychological profiles that were created using that data.
The cache reportedly includes information that was gathered as far back as 2014 which is in the timeframe in which Cambridge Analytica was collecting the data. The broadcaster’s source claims that this data was used by Colorado Republicans to target voters in the state.
It’s even claimed that this list was “passed around using generic, non-corporate email systems, outside of the servers of Cambridge Analytica,” which if true would mean that this cache was distributed to a lot of people and that it’s basically impossible to ensure that it has been deleted.
Cambridge Analytica maintains that it deleted all of the data that was harvested during that time and has even said that it’s having a third-party audit conducted to back that claim. The company has issued the following statement in response to the report:
“We have never passed any data from GSR to an external party. After Facebook contacted us in December 2015 we deleted all GSR (Global Science Research, the research company that had obtained the data for CA) data and took appropriate steps to ensure that any copies of the data were deleted. This includes our lawyers taking action in late 2014 against a number of former staff members who had stolen data and intellectual property from the company. These former staff members each signed an undertaking promising that they had deleted all such material. It is untrue that we failed to take appropriate measures to ensure that GSR data were deleted.”