Cambridge University has responded to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s attack, which he made against the university during his congressional hearing on Wednesday.
After being asked during the hearing whether he planned to sue Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Kogan, and Kogan’s school Cambridge University, Zuckerberg responded, “It’s something that we’re looking into.”
“We already took action by banning [Kogan] from the platform and we’re going to be doing a full audit to make sure he gets rid of all the data that he has as well,” the Facebook CEO explained. “To your point about Cambridge University what we’ve found now is that there’s a whole program associated with Cambridge University where a number of researchers — not just Aleksandr Kogan, although to our current knowledge he’s the only one who sold the data to Cambridge Analytica — there are a number of the researchers who are building similar apps.”
“So we do need to understand whether there is something bad going on at Cambridge University overall that will require a stronger action from us,” Zuckerberg added.
In an article, Tech Crunch claimed, “What’s curious about this response is that Zuckerberg elides to mention how Facebook’s own staff have worked with the program he’s suggesting his company ‘found now’ — as if it had only discovered the existence of the Cambridge University Psychometrics Centre, whose researchers have in fact been working with Facebook data since at least 2007, since the Cambridge Analytica story snowballed into a major public scandal last month.”
“And while it’s of course possible that Zuckerberg and his staff might not have been aware of the myPersonality Facebook app project… what’s rather harder for Zuckerberg to deny knowledge of is the fact his company’s own staff have worked with Cambridge University researchers on projects analyzing Facebook data for psychological profiling purposes for years,” they continued. “Since at least 2015.”
In a statement, the Cambridge University responded, “We would be surprised if Mr. Zuckerberg was only now aware of research at the University of Cambridge looking at what an individual’s Facebook data says about them.”
“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,” the university expressed. “We wrote to Facebook on 21 March to ask it to provide evidence to support its allegations about Dr. Kogan. We have yet to receive a response.”