Wed. Oct 27th, 2021
Company linked to Cambridge university developed personality quiz
Facebook has suspended another data analytics firm with links to Cambridge university pending an investigation into the potential leak of personal data. It also called on UK data regulators to look into “the development of apps in general” by a research arm of the university.
Facebook’s move has shone a fresh spotlight on the work of the university’s Psychometrics Centre, which was already at risk of becoming embroiled in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
An academic at the university, Aleksandr Kogan, drew on work developed by the centre when collecting data about 87m Facebook users. Though ostensibly collected for academic research, the data were allegedly leaked to Cambridge Analytica, and a whistleblower has said they were used to target voters by the Trump presidential campaign, as well as Vote Leave during the UK’s Brexit referendum.
The Psychometrics Centre defended itself late on Sunday from questions raised by the latest Facebook action, taken against an analytics company called CubeYou. It said it had made it clear that the latest app to come under scrutiny — a personality quiz called “You Are What You Like” — had been clearly labelled as being for both academic and commercial purposes. It also said it would ”be contacting Facebook to demonstrate that data collected from our apps is being used strictly in accordance with the apps’ terms of use”.
However, the Cambridge research group also sought to distance itself from some of CubeYou’s claims about its work with the company. “Several of CubeYou’s claims on its blog appear to be misleading and we will be contacting them urgently to request clarification,” it said.
In particular, it said it had “not collaborated with them to build a psychological prediction model”, and that the prediction algorithm had been fully under the academics’ control.

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