Another Facebook quiz could have stolen data under the guise of research

As Facebook begins notifying the potential 87 million users of the “breach of trust” on their data, Facebook is now banning more accounts over similar data harvesting allegations. The social giant has now banned another company, CubeYou, suspected of designing quizzes under the guise of academic studies only to sell the data to marketing companies. Facebook has also suspended another account from a company said to have helped build the tools used in the Cambridge Analytica scandal on grounds that the company could have also received some of that data.

Facebook suspended CubeYou accounts after investigative journalists told Facebook the company used similar tactics to access and use user data. According to CNBC, CubeYou allegedly labels quizzes as data for non-profit academic research, then uses or shares the data for marketing.

Facebook says that CubeYou accounts have been suspended until the company can complete an audit. CubeYou claims it did not deceive users with the data collected and that data was only collected when working with a Cambridge University study between 2013 and 2015. The university says that they didn’t work with the company on a psychological quiz but that CubeYou built an interface for a website. According to a statement from the university, the prediction models were developed by Cambridge University researchers and remained secret. 

According to the company’s website, CubeYou uses “social media statistics” along with studies and government surveys to “bring together the most robust consumer data sources available.” According to CNBC, the company claims they have more than 10 million “opted-in panelists.”

The company’s most popular app is You Are What You Like, a quiz that uses a Facebook user’s likes to guess that user’s personality. Another version of the same app is called Apply Magic Sauce. Both apps reportedly have app terms that state that the quiz is used for “non-exclusive access for research purposes only.”

Like the “thisisyourdigitallife” app, before Facebook changed the access in 2015, the app could have also accessed data from a friend list when one user allowed the app access to their account.

Facebook has also suspended accounts for AggregateIQ, a company that built some data tools for Cambridge Analytica. Like CubeYou, Facebook says they are conducting an investigation and that the company’s accounts have been suspended until that investigation can be completed. The Guardian suggested that because the two companies coordinated on several projects, that AggregateIQ could also have the data. AggregateIQ denies the connection and says it never saw the Facebook data from Cambridge Analytica.

In Mark Zuckerberg’s first statement after the scandal broke, Facebook’s CEO said that the company would be conducting an audit of apps that were allowed to access friend data before the app access changed in 2015. Last week, the company shared new limitations on how third-party apps can access data, along with stating that users will begin seeing a notification if they were affected on April 9.

Meanwhile, Zuckerberg is expected to meet with Congress on Tuesday, April 9. A number of different privacy groups have also come together to ask the company to globally implement the privacy changes that will soon be required in the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.


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