Facebook is suspending a data analytics firm called CubeYou from the platform after CNBC notified the company that CubeYou was collecting information about users through quizzes.
CubeYou misleadingly labeled its quizzes “for non-profit academic research,” then shared user information with marketers. The scenario is eerily similar to how Cambridge Analytica received unauthorized access to data from as many as 87 million Facebook user accounts to target political marketing.
CubeYou, whose CEO denies any deception, sold data that had been collected by researchers working with the Psychometrics Lab at Cambridge University, similar to how Cambridge Analytica used information it obtained from other professors at the school for political marketing.
The CubeYou discovery suggests that collecting data from quizzes and using it for marketing purposes was far from an isolated incident. Moreover, the fact that CubeYou was able to mislabel the purpose of the quizzes — and that Facebook did nothing to stop it until CNBC pointed out the problem — suggests the platform has little control over this activity.
CubeYou boasts on its website that it uses census data and various web and social apps on Facebook and Twitter to collect personal information. CubeYou then contracts with advertising agencies that want to target certain types of Facebook users for ad campaigns.
CubeYou’s site says it has access to personally identifiable information (PII) such as first names, last names, emails, phone numbers, IP addresses, mobile IDs and browser fingerprints.
On a cached version of its website from March 19, it also said it keeps age, gender, location, work and education, and family and relationship information. It also has likes, follows, shares, posts, likes to posts, comments to posts, check-ins and mentions of brands/celebrities in a post. Interactions with companies are tracked back to 2012 and are updated weekly, the site said.