A former employee of Cambridge Analytica told a UK parliament committee that the company gathered data on far more than the up to 87 million people so far believed to have had their personal data gleaned as a result of a personality quiz available on the social network.
In her written evidence to the committee Kaiser claims:
I should emphasise that the Kogan/GSR datasets and questionnaires were not the only Facebook-connected questionnaires and datasets which Cambridge Analytica used. I am aware in a general sense of a wide range of surveys which were done by CA or its partners, usually with a Facebook login – for example, the “sex compass” quiz. I do not know the specifics of these surveys or how the data was acquired or processed. But I believe it is almost certain that the number of Facebook users whose data was compromised through routes similar to that used by Kogan is much greater than 87 million; and that both Cambridge Analytica and other unconnected companies and campaigns were involved in these activities.
Another former CA employee, Chris Wylie, had previously testified that CA worked with professor Aleksandr Kogan to gather Facebook users’ data because Kogan agreed to work on gathering and processing the data without negotiating any commercial terms up front.
Kaiser expanded on that point during the hearing, saying CA’s internal teams worked to design questionnaires for deploying on Facebook.
“I am aware now of what the questionnaire was that professor Kogan used, although I didn’t know about it when I joined the company. But I would see questionnaires — for example there was one called the ‘Sex Compass’ to find out what your personal preferences were privately. And then there was another one on your ‘Music Personality’,” she told the committee.
Kaiser was asked by committee chair Damian Collins whether the viral app approach used by CA in the U.S. could have been used in other markets.
“That was the idea — although in Europe it’s quite difficult because of the data protection laws,” responded Kaiser.
“Well if you observe them,” quipped Collins.
“Correct,” said Kaiser.