Facebook Now Claims Cambridge Analytica Might Not Have Accessed Any EU Data

By Tom Pritchard on at

The Cambridge Analytica data scandal is the gift that keeps on giving, and by that I mean it's Mark Zuckerberg's never-ending nightmare as he tries to dodge and navigate all the politicians demanding to speak to him. Now two of the company's executives have told an EU hearing that, as far as they can tell, no EU data was shared with Cambridge Analytica.

Stephen Satterfield, one of Facebook's privacy policy directors told EU lawmakers that "The best information we have suggests that no European user data was shared by Dr. [Aleksandr] Kogan with Cambridge Analytica.” For those who forgot, Aleksandr Kogan is the Cambridge University researcher that developed the app allowing Cambridge Analytica to collect data from 80 million Facebook users.

Naturally the social media giant was quick to point out that it couldn't be absolutely 100 per cent conclusive about that. It still had to complete its own internal audit of the situation, following the conclusion of the investigation currently being carried out by the Information Commissioner's Office here in the UK. That said, it appears as though Cambridge Analytica primarily pulled US user data, because it was more interested in analysing them for US political campaigns.

That's not to say that the app didn't have access to European data. Richard Allan, Facebook’s vice president of policy solutions, claims that it's more than likely European users installed the app, but because Cambridge Analytica was primarily interested in American users he'll have prioritised their data. Apparently the EU officials have expressed their frustration with Facebook for its apparent 'flip-flopping'. Andrea Jelinek, leader of authorities in charge of policing the EU's data privacy laws, told the civil liberties committee:

“What really is concerning is that there are revelations and then Facebook admits having shared data of users and even non-users, and after each revelation, they admit another thing.

It is like a puzzle, and we don’t know how many pieces are in there and how many are still missing."

This hearing was the second in a long series of hearings as the EU investigates the matter. The first involved Mark Zuckerberg expertly dodging questions, and the next will take place on 2nd July with Facebook COO Cheryl Sandberg. [Bloomberg via Engadget]