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57 billion Facebook friendships: Giant data dump given to Cambridge Analytica’s academic

57 billion Facebook friendships: Giant data dump given to Cambridge Analytica’s academic
[Photo: Scott Webb/Unsplash]

Even though Facebook broke all ties with researcher Aleksandr Kogan last week (after news broke about Kogan misusing Facebook data to help Cambridge Analytica), the social network sure shared a lot of user information with the academic. The Guardian reports that Kogan and his research partners were given access to an anonymized dataset of 57 billion Facebook friendships.

Kogan’s lab at University of Cambridge looked at this data trove of “every friendship formed in 2011 in every country in the world at the national aggregate level,” and published a paper about it in 2015.

Facebook told The Guardian that, despite the vastness of the data, the information wasn’t robust. “The data that was shared was literally numbers – numbers of how many friendships were made between pairs of countries – ie x number of friendships made between the US and UK,” a spokesperson told the newspaper.

Still, 57 billion is a big number–and this shows the kind of information Facebook has surrendered to people it thought it could trust.

You can read the full Guardian article here.

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