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About East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current | View Entire Issue (March 21, 2018)
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Zuckerberg asked to testify;
data firm’s CEO suspended
By DANICA KIRKA AND
LONDON — The head of
Trump-affiliated data-mining firm
Cambridge Analytica has been
suspended, while government
authorities are bearing down on
both the firm and Facebook over
allegations the firm stole data
from 50 million Facebook users to
Cambridge’s board of directors
suspended CEO Alexander Nix
pending an investigation after
Nix boasted of various unsavory
services to an undercover reporter
for Britain’s Channel 4 News.
Channel 4 News broadcast
clips Tuesday that also show Nix
saying his data-mining firm played
a major role in securing Donald
Trump’s victory in the 2016 pres-
Nix said the firm handled “all
the data, all the analytics, all the
targeting” and said Cambridge
used emails with a “self-destruct
timer” to make its role more diffi-
cult to trace.
“There’s no evidence, there’s
no paper trail, there’s nothing,” he
In a statement, Cambridge’s
board said Nix’s comments “do not
represent the values or operations
of the firm and his suspension
reflects the seriousness with which
we view this violation.”
Cambridge has denied wrong-
doing, and Trump’s campaign has
said it didn’t use Cambridge’s data.
Facebook also drew continued
criticism for its alleged inaction
to protect users’ privacy. Earlier
Tuesday, the chairman of the U.K.
parliamentary media committee,
Damian Collins, said his group has
repeatedly asked Facebook how
it uses data. He said Facebook
officials “have been misleading to
The committee summoned
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
“It is now time to hear from
a senior Facebook executive
with the sufficient authority to
give an accurate account of this
catastrophic failure of process,”
Collins wrote Zuckerberg. “Given
your commitment at the start of the
Dominic Lipinski/PA via AP
Chief executive of Cambridge Analytica Alexander Nix leaves
the offices in central London Tuesday. Cambridge Analytica has
been accused of improperly using information from more than
50 million Facebook accounts. It denies wrongdoing.
New Year to ‘fixing’ Facebook, I
hope that this representative will
Leading Democrats in the U.S.
Senate also called on Zuckerberg
to testify. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of
California, the top Democrat on
the Senate Judiciary Committee,
called Facebook’s latest privacy
scandal a “danger signal.” She
wants Zuckerberg’s assurances
that Facebook is prepared to take
the lead on security measures that
protect people’s privacy — or
Congress may step in.
Facebook sidestepped ques-
tions on whether Zuckerberg
would appear, saying instead
that it’s currently focused on
conducting its own reviews.
The request to appear comes
as Britain’s information commis-
sioner said she was using all her
legal powers to investigate the
social media giant and Cambridge
Denham is pursuing a warrant
to search Cambridge Analytica’s
servers. She has also asked Face-
book to cease its own audit of
Cambridge Analytica’s data use.
“Our advice to Facebook is to
back away and let us go in and do
our work,” she said.
Facebook has weathered many
such blow-ups before and is
used to apologizing and moving
on. But the stakes are bigger
this time. The latest scandal has
some people reconsidering their
relationship status with the social
network, though there isn’t much
of anywhere else to go.
Cambridge Analytica said it
is committed to helping the U.K.
investigation. However, Denham’s
office said the firm failed to meet
a deadline to produce the informa-
Denham said the prime allega-
tion against Cambridge Analytica
is that it acquired personal data in
an unauthorized way, adding that
the data provisions act requires
services like Facebook to have
strong safeguards against misuse
Chris Wylie, who once worked
for Cambridge Analytica, was
quoted as saying the company used
the data to build psychological
profiles so voters could be targeted
with ads and stories.
Wylie has agreed to be inter-
viewed by Democrats on the U.S.
House Intelligence Committee.
A date has not been set, and it’s
unclear if Republicans on the
panel will attend.
Cambridge Analytica found
itself in further allegations of
wrongdoing. Britain’s Channel 4
used an undercover investigation
to record Nix saying that the
company could use unorthodox
methods to wage successful polit-
ical campaigns for clients.
In footage released Monday,
Nix said the company could “send
some girls” around to a rival
candidate’s house, suggesting that
girls from Ukraine are beautiful
and effective in this role.
Breaking up with Facebook?
It’s harder than it looks
By BARBARA ORTUTAY
AP Technology Writer
NEW YORK` — Facebook’s
latest privacy scandal, involving
Trump campaign consultants who
allegedly stole data on tens of
millions of users in order to influ-
ence elections, has some people
reconsidering their relationship
status with the social network.
There’s just one problem: There
isn’t much of anywhere else to go.
Facebook has weathered many
such blow-ups before and is used to
apologizing and moving on. But the
stakes are bigger this time.
Regulatory authorities are
starting to focus on the data misap-
propriation, triggering a 9 percent
decline in Facebook’s normally
high-flying stock since Monday.
Some of that reflects fear that
changes in Facebook’s business
will hurt profits or that advertisers
and users will sour on the social
The furor over Cambridge
Analytica, the data mining firm
accused of stealing Facebook data,
follows a bad year in which Face-
book acknowledged helping spread
fake news and propaganda from
Russian agents. It also comes less
than three months after CEO Mark
Zuckerberg told the world that he
would devote the year to fixing
Facebook. Instead, things seem to
be getting worse.
“It’s more serious economically,
politically, financially and will
require a more robust response
in order to regain users’ trust,”
said Steve Jones, a professor of
communications at the University
of Illinois at Chicago.
Yet leaving Facebook, like
ending a long marriage, isn’t
remotely simple. Starting with the
Arvind Rajan, a tech executive
from San Francisco who deactivated
his account on Monday, suddenly
discovered he needs to create new
usernames and passwords for a
variety of apps and websites. That’s
because he previously logged in
with his Facebook ID.
It’s a pain, he said, “but not the
end of the world.” And because
he is bothered by Facebook’s
“ham-handed” response to recent
problems, the inconvenience is
For other users looking to leave,
it can feel as if there are no real
alternatives. Twitter? Too flighty,
too public. Instagram? Whoops,
owned by Facebook. Snapchat?
Please, unless you’re under 25 — in
which case you’re probably not on
Facebook to begin with.
Facebook connects 2.2 billion
users and a host of communities
that have sprung up on its network.
No other company can match
the breadth or depth of these
connections — thanks in part to
Facebook’s proclivity for squashing
or swallowing up its competition.
But it is precisely in Facebook’s
interest to make users feel Face-
book is the only place to connect
with others. Where else will grand-
mothers see photos of their far-flung
grandkids? How will new mothers
connect to other parents also up at 4
a.m. with a newborn?
“My only hesitation is that there
are hundreds of pictures posted
over 13 years of my life that I do
not want to lose access to. If there
was a way to recover these photos,
I would deactivate immediately,”
Daniel Schwartz, who lives in
Atlanta, said in an email.
People eager to delete their
profiles may find unexpected
problems that point to how integral
Facebook is to many activities,
said Ifeoma Ajunwa, a professor of
organizational behavior at Cornell
“It is getting more and more
difficult for people to delete Face-
book, since it’s not just as a social
media platform but also almost like
a meeting square,” she said.
Parents could soon realize that
their child’s soccer schedule with
games and pickup times is only on a
Facebook page, for example. Many
businesses also schedule meetings
“It’s more and more difficult for
people to feel plugged in if you’re
not on Facebook,” Ajunwa said.
Not surprisingly, Facebook
doesn’t make it easy to leave. To
permanently delete your account,
you need to make a request to the
company. The process can take
several days, and if you log in
during this time, your request will
be canceled. It can take up to 90
days to delete everything.
There’s a less permanent way
to leave, deactivation, which hides
your profile from everyone but lets
you return if you change your mind.
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