“Vesselin Popov and his team at the University of Cambridge Psychometrics Centre have found themselves embroiled in one of the year’s biggest news stories,” Bonnie Christian writes for Wired. “Their research was used by London-based Cambridge Analytica to harvest information from 80 million Facebook profiles without the users’ consent… To do this, one of Cambridge’s own data scientists, Aleksandr Kogan, developed an app that could predict online personality traits and then target information to specific users based on that trait.”
“But, just a year earlier, Popov’s team had published in peer-reviewed journals their findings from an app, myPersonality, they had developed in 2007 that did exactly the same thing,” Christian writes. “Wired spoke to Popov about whether they could have prevented this outcome, if it’s too late to get control back of our own data, and why now is the perfect time to start a new social network.”
What do you see as the future for Facebook?
It’s difficult to imagine. If I were a startup or an entrepreneur I would make a new social network (as ridiculous as that sounds) where you can upload your Facebook data. Now because of GDPR you can go on Facebook and you can download all of your Facebook data from whenever you started your account and they have to give you everything they have. Of course they’re not compliant but in a legal sense that will change and there’s a lot of stuff there. The problem is you can’t actually take that data anywhere else: I would want to have the photos I uploaded 10 years ago and all my friend connections and so on but I’d want to have it somewhere else on another platform.
[To do it,] it would just be a case of reading that data format and data portability is the reason that’s even possible. I don’t think it would take very long to make something that could repopulate data. The problem of social networks is no one uses them until people are using them, that chick and egg problem, but I think data portability makes that much quicker than perhaps if we were talking 10 years ago when everyone was trying to build a social network and it was a stupid idea. Now I think it’s maybe less a stupid idea.
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Imagine if Apple created a clean social network that not only imported your Facebook data, but also offered real privacy protections since Apple is not interested in selling you, your family, your friends and aquaintences to advertisers?
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