How a Russian-American Researcher Got Private Data of 50 Million Facebook Users

How does an academic get his hands on information about 50 million Facebook users? Create an app.

That’s what Russian-American psychology professor Dr. Aleksandr Kogan did in 2014. What you’re not supposed to do, however, is turn around and sell that data to an analytics firm — especially one with ties to a presidential campaign, like Cambridge Analytica was to Donald Trump’s 2016 run.

Sharing such information, whether for free or profit, is a violation of the social media...

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