After Facebook, which drew criticism for mishandling data of 87 million users to a British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica without their consent, another social media website Twitter has now been caught in the data scandal. According to a report published in the Telegraph, in 2015, Twitter sold the public data access to Aleksander Kogan, then an academic with the University of Cambridge and his company Global Science Research (GSR). However, rubbishing all the allegations, Twitter on Monday said, “In 2015, GSR did have one-time API access to a random sample of public tweets from a five-month period from December 2014 to April 2015.”
Twitter further added that in our internal probe, we did not found any access to private data about people who use Twitter. Speaking on the matter, Twitter spokesperson, “Unlike many other services, Twitter is public by its nature. People come to Twitter to speak publicly, and public Tweets are viewable and searchable by anyone.” The report further stated that in the year 2014-2015, Kogan developed a quiz app “thisisyourdigitallife”, and collected data from millions of Facebook users without their consent. Reacting to the allegations, Kogan said, “No Twitter policy has been breached and Twitter data was used only to create “brand reports” and “survey extender tools”.
The technology portal Engadget said, “The most immediate concern is that GSR could theoretically have correlated Facebook and Twitter data. Still, this shows just how comprehensive the data collection was.” Quoting Twitter spokesperson, Telegraph report said, “Twitter has also made the policy decision to off-board advertising from all accounts owned and operated by Cambridge Analytica. This decision is based on our determination that Cambridge Analytica operates using a business model that inherently conflicts with acceptable Twitter Ads business practices. “