Aleksandr Kogan, the Cambridge University researcher at the center of Facebook’s data breach allegations, said today he is being used as a “scapegoat” by the social network and Cambridge Analytica, the analytics firm that acquired the data.
“The events of the past week have been a total shell shock, and my view is that I’m being basically used as a scapegoat by both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica when… we thought we were doing something that was really normal,” Kogan told BBC 4’s Today Program.
“We were assured by Cambridge Analytica that everything was perfectly legal and within the terms of service,” he said.
Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie last week told the Observer that data collected by an app Kogan created was used target voters in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The firm mined the information of about 50 million Facebook users, according to Wylie.
Cambridge Analytica has claimed Kogan came to the firm with the idea for the app. Kogan denied this, saying the firm approached him.
Asked whether it was possible the firm used the data to assist Donald Trump’s campaign, Kogan told the BBC: “It’s certainly possible but … I truly don’t have any knowledge of that.” He added that his values don’t align with those of the U.S. president.
Cambridge Analytica has “exaggerated” the accuracy of the data collected, according to Kogan, who said the data was more likely to hurt Trump’s campaign.
“One of the great mistakes I did here was I just didn’t ask enough questions,” Kogan said.