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App developer claims he has become the scapegoat in Facebook data row

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The academic behind the app which harvested data from 50 million Facebook users said Wednesday he was being used as a scapegoat in the row over online privacy.

Aleksandr Kogan said that British firm Cambridge Analytica, which is at the centre of a major scandal rocking Facebook, assured him that what he was doing was “perfectly legal and within the terms of service” of the social media giant.

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A former CA employee says the company was able to create psychological profiles on 50 million Facebook users through the use of a personality prediction app that was downloaded by 270,000 people.

It did so by scooping up data from the users’ friends on the social network — as was possible under Facebook’s rules at the time.

CA has blamed Kogan, the University of Cambridge psychologist who developed the personality survey called This Is Your Digital Life, for misusing the data.

Kogan told the BBC he was “stunned” by the allegations against him.

“The events of the past week have been a total shell shock. My view is that I’m being basically used as a scapegoat by both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica,” he said.

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“Honestly, we thought we were acting perfectly appropriately. We thought we were doing something that was really normal.”

He added: “We were assured by Cambridge Analytica that everything was perfectly legal and within the terms of service.”

CA’s chief executive Alexander Nix — suspended on Tuesday — was recorded boasting that the firm played an expansive role in US President Donald Trump’s 2016 election bid, doing all of its research, analytics as well as digital and television campaigns.

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CA has denied using Facebook data for the Trump campaign and said it had in any case been deleted.

Facebook says the data was taken without its knowledge and has launched its own investigation into CA.

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US ‘concerned’ China is seeking to sway Taiwan polls

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The de facto US ambassador to Taiwan on Friday expressed concern that Beijing was attempting to influence the island's coming elections, days after China sent its first domestically built aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait.

Beijing confirmed earlier this week that the carrier traversed the strait separating China from self-ruled Taiwan, saying it was "routine" training.

"We of course regard any of these threatening actions with concern," said Brent Christensen, the director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), when asked to comment on the sail-by.

AIT serves as the de facto American embassy in Taiwan.

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Trump is ignoring his duties to obsess over impeachment and panic about GOP betrayal: report

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According to a report from Politico, Donald Trump thinks of little else other than the ongoing impeachment hearings being conducted by the Democratic-controlled House and is in a constant of panic that Republicans may turn on him.

Te report notes that the president has put all policy initiatives aside to concentrate on pushing back on impeachment and running for re-election earlier than had been anticipated.

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Michael Steele hilariously shreds the RNC for spending $100K on Donald Trump Jr’s ‘dumb book nobody’s going to read’

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Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, trashed the organization he once led over revelations that donor money was used to boost sales of Donald Trump Jr.'s new book.

The former RNC chair told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that he wasn't a bit surprised by the reports, and said the GOP organization has been absolutely corrupted by President Donald Trump.

"Of course it was the RNC -- SOBs," Steele said. "Oh my god."

"Look, let me just tell you how screwed up this is," he continued. "Before I became national chairman, I had written a book on how the Republican Party can regroup after the 2008 shellacking, after the 2006, you know, bang-up at the polls, and move the party forward, and people looked at me and said, 'How dare you write a book and try to profit off of the RNC.'"

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