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  • Cambridge Analytica’s ad targeting is the reason Facebook exists

    Vice - 03/19/2018

    “You have to proceed on the assumption that this information has been extracted from you,” Woodrow Hartzog, author of Privacy’s Blueprint: The Battle to Control the Design of New Technologies, told me on the phone. “Cambridge Analytica used an information extraction technique that was well-known to technologists for years. The implications of this debacle is about crystallizing the threat about how dangerous the information ecosystem is.”

    “Once Facebook created the [data sharing] API, there was a land grab,” Christo Wilson, a researcher at Northeastern University who has studied Facebook advertising and third-party data sharing tactics, told me on the phone. “People were writing apps manically—photo of the day, quizzes, any sort of garbage people would install so you would have a big user base to take the data. It was a huge market back in the day. And there were absolutely cases where people developed Facebook apps for fun, got a huge user base, and then sold the apps for hundreds of thousands of dollars to a marketing company.”

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