Psychology professor Aleksandr Kogan, hired by Cambridge Analytica to harvest information from Facebook profiles, says he didn’t know at the time he was kicking of a social media management disaster.
“At the time I thought we were doing everything that was correct. You know, I was kinda acting, honestly, quite naively. I thought we were doing everything okay,” Kogan told Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes.
Political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica is at the center of a firestorm following revelations its social media management methods included using Facebook surveys to harvest the data not just of those who took the quizzes but their networks as well. The firm then used that data to help with the Trump campaign in 2016.
Kogan, who worked as a lecturer at Cambridge University and studied happiness and kindness, asked Facebook users to take a survey meant to predict behavior. He didn’t disclose, though, that he was trying to get access to networks he would otherwise have trouble reaching, or that he was working for the political consulting firm.
“We would collect things like their location, their gender, their birthday, their page “likes” and similar information for their friends,” he told the news magazine.
According to the New York Times:
Since the full scope of Cambridge Analytica’s data collection was revealed last month by The New York Times, both Facebook and Cambridge, a political data firm, have been under intense scrutiny and eager to shift the blame to Mr. Kogan.
They have said that he misled them about how the information was being collected and what it was being used for. Facebook has even banned Mr. Kogan from the social network and deleted his profile.
But in his first extensive interview since the report in The Times, Mr. Kogan insisted that he was upfront about the Facebook app used to harvest the data, and that no one seemed to care.