The letter from Rebecca Stimson, head of Facebook’s U.K. public policy, pushed back against suggestions made by Damian Collins, the head of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, that Facebook provided inconsistent evidence. Stimson said such an assertion “is not the case.”
Facebook is still under scrutiny in the U.K. and U.S. for its role in the now-defunct U.K. consultancy’s use of company data in the run-up to the 2016 elections in both countries. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission wrapped up its investigation in July, but Collins’ committee and multiple state attorneys general in the U.S. are still looking into when Facebook learned about the affair.
Stinson said Facebook first learned through media reports in December 2015 about “Aleksandr Kogan / GSR’s improper transfer of data to Cambridge Analytica.” She said the company heard speculation about data scraping by Cambridge Analytica in September 2015, but didn’t learn Kogan had sold the data until that December.
“These are two different things and this is not new information,” Stimson wrote.
Kogan, a university researcher, created the “This Is Your Digital Life” application, which was available on Facebook, and then sold the data collected through the app to Cambridge Analytica.
Collins questioned Facebook executives in recent letters about whether the company was clear about when it first learned about issues with Cambridge Analytica, citing statements the social network made to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and in ongoing litigation by D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and Cook County, Ill. prosecutor Kim Foxx.
Collins wrote in a Aug. 12 tweet that Facebook’s responses were “disingenuous.”
Facebook “didn’t previously disclose to us concerns about Cambridge Analytica prior to Dec 2015, or say what they did about it & haven’t shared results of investigations into other Apps,” he tweeted.
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(Update with Collins' tweet)