In the past few weeks, Facebook has been in total damage control. After news hit that Cambridge Analytica had been using Facebook users' data without their consent, to help get President Trump elected in the 2016 Presidential Election. Now, the company has identified a second company that is apparently doing the same thing, harvesting user data, and has suspended it. That is AggregateIQ, a Canadian firm, which is also a political consultancy.
Facebook said in a statement on Friday that "in light of recent reports that AggregateIQ may be affiliated with SCL and may, as a result, have improperly received Facebook user data, we have added them to the list of entities we have suspended from our platform while we investigate." SCL is Strategic Communications Laboratories which is a government and a military contractor that is also the parent company of Cambridge Analytica. Facebook also mentioned that it's internal review is continuing and that it will cooperate with regulators. This news has also led Canada to open investigations into both AggregateIQ and Facebook, following the US, UK and Australia, all of which are now investigating Facebook. In fact, Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, will be testifying in front of the US Congress next week in Washington DC.
The issue with both Cambridge Analytica and AggregateIQ isn't actually the fact that it helped get a certain candidate elected. That is something that political candidates have been doing for quite a while now, in fact Obama's Campaign did the same thing to help get him elected in 2008 and 2012. The issue here is that both companies are scraping user data from Facebook without the consent of Facebook or more importantly the user. In the case of Cambridge Analytica, it used different apps to get your information, which also asked you to give it access to your contacts. And that alone gave Cambridge Analytica a ton of data. While it did ask for permission, technically, it was not in the context that it should have been. This issue is going to be continuing for Facebook for the next few months as these investigations continue.