Since it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed the personal data of millions of Facebook users, one question has lingered in the minds of the public: What other data did Dr. Aleksandr Kogan gain access to?
Twitter confirmed to The Telegraph on Saturday that GSR, Kogan’s own commercial enterprise, had purchased one-time API access to a random sample of public tweets from a five-month period between December 2014 and April 2015. Twitter told Bloomberg that, following an internal review, the company did not find any access to private data about people who use Twitter.
Twitter sells API access to large organizations or enterprises for the purposes of surveying sentiment or opinion during various events, or around certain topics or ideas.
Here’s what a Twitter spokesperson said to The Telegraph:
Twitter has also made the policy decision to off-board advertising from all accounts owned and operated by Cambridge Analytica. This decision is based on our determination that Cambridge Analytica operates using a business model that inherently conflicts with acceptable Twitter Ads business practices. Cambridge Analytica may remain an organic user on our platform, in accordance with the Twitter Rules.
Obviously, this doesn’t have the same scope as the data harvested about users on Facebook. Twitter’s data on users is far less personal. Location on the platform is opt-in and generic at that, and users are not forced to use their real name on the platform.
Cambridge Analytica tweeted out this morning that the data obtained by Kogan/GSR from Twitter was never purchased or used by Cambridge Analytica.
Cambridge Analytica has never received Twitter data from GSR or
Aleksandr Kogan, and has never done any work with GSR on Twitter data. GSR was only ever a contractor to Cambridge Analytica and we understand it did work for many other companies.
— Cambridge Analytica (@CamAnalytica) April 30, 2018
We reached out to Twitter and will update when we hear back.