Facebook Uncovers More Third Party Ad Fraud
Late Friday Facebook disclosed more deceptive ad practices from the 2016 election. The latest problem involves a third party called Cambridge Analytica, who illegally obtained data from 50M FB users and distributed it to Russian organizations. Cambridge Analytica got this data from a FB-approved third party project involving a researcher named Aleksandr Kogan. Mr. Kogan gained access to FB’s app publisher API under the cover story of a “research game app” called thisisyourdigitallife, which was downloaded 270,000 times since 2015.
It looks like the app was just a rouse to allow Kogan and Cambridge Analytica into the treasure trove of FB’s data they were really after. Upon discovering the scam FB immediately suspended Kogan’s access to the platform. After hearing FB’s announcement other digital publishers have also severed ties with Kogan/CA, although it’s not known if they were able to manipulate the same fraud on any other sights.
AdWeek does a good job of breaking down this complicated scheme in the attached link. This example shows us just how vulnerable our data infrastructure is to bad actors who intentionally carry out fraud.