acebook has suspended a company from its site while it investigates claims it harvested user information under the guise of academic research, in a case with echoes of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Cubeyou, a New York-based data analytics firm that offers “fast, easy and accurate consumer insights” to customers, gathered some of its user data with Facebook quizzes developed in conjunction with the University of Cambridge. The quizzes carrying the disclaimer that information gathered would be used “for non-profit academic research”.
According to CNBC, which first reported Cubeyou’s data harvesting techniques, the company used an app called You Are What You Like – a “one-click personality test” – to harvest data from users and build up a psychometric profile of them. Users were told the app was “developed by University of Cambridge Psychometrics Centre, in collaboration with Cubeyou”.
The discovery suggests that collecting data for marketing purposes under the guise of academic research may have been a common practice, and not simply isolated to Cambridge Analytica.
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