The academic at the heart of the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal is suing Facebook for defamation

Aleksandr Kogan

  • Aleksandr Kogan, who created an app that enabled Cambridge Analytica to collect personal details of millions of Facebook users, sued Facebook for defamation on Friday, The New York Times reported. 
  • Kogan alleged that Facebook defamed him when it said he lied about how the data collected by the app would be used.
  • He previously said that Facebook and Cambridge Analytica used him as a “scapegoat.”

The academic who created an app allowing Cambridge Analytica to collect personal details of millions of Facebook users sued Facebook for defamation on Friday, The New York Times reported. 

According to The Times, Aleksandr Kogan said Facebook defamed him by saying he lied about how the data collected by the app would be used. Facebook said it was told the data would be used for academic purposes. Kogan insisted that the fine print of the app explained that the data could be used commercially.

“Alex did not lie, Alex was not a fraud, Alex did not deceive them, this was not a scam,” Kogan’s lawyer, Steve Cohen, said, The Times reported. “Facebook knew exactly what this app was doing, or should have known. Facebook desperately needed a scapegoat, and Alex was their scapegoat.”

Facebook did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment. However, in a statement to The Times, spokeswoman Liz Bourgeois described this as a “frivolous lawsuit” from a person who “violated our policies and put people’s data at risk.”

Kogan created the ‘This is Your Digital Life’ quiz app, which harvested 87 million Facebook user profiles and then passed this information to Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based political firm hired by President Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign. 

Kogan previously played down the role that his data had in the campaign but said he was aware that it was likely to be used by Cambridge Analytica during the elections.

Read more: The man at the centre of the Facebook data scandal says it’s ‘nonsense’ that Cambridge Analytica got Trump elected

“I knew it was going to be for elections … And I had an understanding or a feeling that it was going to be for the Republican side,” he told CBS News in April 2018. 

He later said that Facebook and Cambridge Analytica used him as a “scapegoat” after being depicted as the villain in the scandal. 

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