Dr Aleksandr Kogan interviewed by 60 Minutes


Aleksandr Kogan, who served as a director of Global Science Research (GSR) where he harvested the data of Facebook users, has spoken to "60 Minutes" in an interview airing today.

In response to an enquiry from “60 Minutes” regarding Aleksandr Kogan and how Cambridge Analytica used the data it licensed from his company GSR, Cambridge Analytica responded with the following information.

In 2014 Cambridge Analytica decided to seek the expertise of Aleksandr Kogan because he was an academic at an internationally renowned university who routinely undertook these kinds of research projects. He had published on the subject of personality profiling in academic journals, and had already created a data sampling methodology. Cambridge Analytica had no experience in developing Facebook apps.

Dr Kogan made contractual commitments to Cambridge Analytica that GSR was responsible for compliance with data protection legislation, and we took these assurances in good faith. The data we licensed from GSR/Kogan was for up to 30 million respondents in the United States only.

Cambridge Analytica provides a range of marketing services to brands and political campaigns. It’s a full service agency that uses best practice in research, data analytics, and marketing. It tested GSR/Kogan data in 2014 and 2015 to see if it was possible to define categories of people with similar personalities in such a way as that it might be possible to improve the performance of advertising campaigns. 

Cambridge Analytica’s research showed that the personality types licensed by GSR/Kogan underperformed compared to more traditional ways of grouping people by demographics. 

When Cambridge Analytica studied the effectiveness of advertising using the GSR/Kogan personality types, as compared to more conventionally-targeted advertising, by comparing the number of clicks for every dollar spent, the GSR/Kogan data was shown to be less effective than standard off-the-shelf demographic segments. 

As a consequence, instead of using such personality-based targeting on the Ted Cruz campaign in 2015, Cambridge Analytica provided more conventional data modeling for donors, persuasion, and turnout. 

As a result of these tests, Cambridge Analytica decided in 2015 to collect its own personality data through marketing research panels, with the full consent of each respondent, so that it had more accurate data with which to continue its research.

When Facebook requested that Cambridge Analytica delete the GSR/Kogan data, the company immediately deleted the raw data from its file server, and began the process of searching for and removing any of its derivatives in its system. 

Cambridge Analytica did not share the GSR/Kogan data with any other party. 

Cambridge Analytica used data from the RNC for its work on the Donald Trump presidential campaign; personality types were not used on the campaign.

Cambridge Analytica now designs research that uses broader marketing psychology, rather than only personality types. The marketing industry as a whole is moving towards more personalised communications.  

In the past Cambridge Analytica has designed and run quizzes for internal research projects. Data collected from these quizzes were always gathered under a clear statement of consent. When members of the public logged into a quiz with their Facebook details, only their public profile information was collected. The volumes of users who took the quizzes numbered in the tens of thousands; any suggestion that Cambridge Analytica collected data on the scale of GSR is incorrect. We no longer run such quizzes or hold data that was collected in this way, since we use the aforementioned marketing research panels that are standard practice in the industry.