As all we know Facebook is the biggest Social Network in the world. It was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004. Thanks to his company he became one of the ten richest people of the world. But how can Facebook make lots of money? The real answer of this question is: bid data exploitation. Facebook, in facts, makes most of its revenue from advertisements that appear onscreen. What does it mean?

Big Data Illustration

Every time we surf on the net we switch location’s information, we buy or more simply we look for something to buy online, every interaction we make on social networks (likes on posts, pages, captions), every TV series or movie we watch on Netflix or in streaming, every movement of all the people surfing the net produces massive volume of data.

There are trillions of data they can’t be read with normal software. That’s why all the analysis systems can understand these data are so important and requested.

Big Data are a huge resource now if read in the right way. They may be analysed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behaviour and interactions. And if we stop here, these results can be useful only for a social research. Of course business went beyond, they used these revelations not only to understand people preferences but also to influence their choices.

Now that you know what Big Data means and how business and websites can collect them, we can start focusing on the story we are going to tell you.

How was the Facebook data harvested?

Back in 2015, a Cambridge psychology professor, called Aleksandr Kogan, built an app called “thisisyourdigitallife”. Initially that app had only academic purpose.

Aleksandr Kogan

This App had two particular and innovative features. The first one was the login with Facebook account: with this functionality thisisyourdigitallife could take all the informations from the user profile, but also from all his Facebook friends! Those information, as we already said, are the Big Data.
One more thing very interesting in the Kogan’s app is the fact that it uses psychometric science to understand people “minds and thoughts”. In fact users were paid to take part in polls or tests in which it was requested to answer some personal questions about their digital and personal lives.
All data collected (with the “login with Facebook” and with the answers to those tests) were analysed and profiled.
We are taking about thisisyourdigitallife because, after the app collected 87 millions accounts data, it sold all its records to Cambridge Analytica!

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