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Facebook User Data Debacle – All User Data Was Available to Download for More Than 4 Years


Remember the huge Facebook and Cambridge scandal? Mark Zuckerberg and Co are not going to get away from it anytime soon, especially now that the folks at New Scientist found out that all the data collected by Cambridge researches was available to download by anyone who wanted to. To make things even worse, the data set of more than 3 million Facebook users has been available to download for more than four years.

The Personality Test

Most of the data that Cambridge researchers managed to collect on Facebook users and to create a profile comes from the personality test app known as “myPersonality”. Facebook rushed to shut down the app which was active between 2007 to 2012, but the data still remains. The interesting thing about this test is that somehow, new data on Facebook users has been added until late August of 2016.

The Test Was a Cambridge Project

As if things weren’t dubious enough, the folks at New Scientist also found that the “myPersonality” app was created by David Stillwell. In case you are not up with the Facebook vs Cambridge scandal, David Stillwell is the deputy director at Cambridge Psychometrics Centre.

David Stillwell is saying that the “myPersonality” app is just a project that he started which has academic links and that “it is a standalone business”. The reason why the Cambridge researcher said that it’s a standalone business is because of liability purposes and this is why the group didn’t charge anyone for access to that data.

Creating a User Profile

The personality test asked for user consent when people decided to give “myPersonality” a try. The test then created a bunch of questionnaires which were used to form a “detail rich” user profile on anyone who decided to answer those questions.