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Facebook launches audit of data leaked to Trump consultant

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Facebook announced Monday it has hired a digital forensics firm to investigate the handling of data on millions of Americans leaked to a consulting firm working on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

The move by Facebook came amid an onslaught of criticism after reports that British firm Cambridge Analytica harvested personal data from the profiles of 50 million users of the social network without their knowledge or consent.

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A Facebook statement said the forensics firm Stroz Friedberg would “conduct a comprehensive audit of Cambridge Analytica,” and that the company had agreed to comply and provide access to its servers and systems.

Facebook said University of Cambridge psychologist Aleksandr Kogan, who developed the app used to harvest user data, also agreed to cooperate.

It added that Christopher Wylie, a Canadian data analytics expert who worked with Kogan and who revealed the data leak to media, had declined to cooperate with the audit.

“This is part of a comprehensive internal and external review that we are conducting to determine the accuracy of the claims that the Facebook data in question still exists,” the California social network giant said.

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It noted that the parties involved had certified to Facebook the data in question had been destroyed, but said that “if this data still exists, it would be a grave violation of Facebook’s policies and an unacceptable violation of trust and the commitments these groups made.”

Facebook says its terms of service were violated when Kogan “lied” and used the results of his personality quiz to pass on data to Cambridge Analytica, which helped in Trump’s 2016 campaign.

“We remain committed to vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people’s information,” Facebook said.

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“We also want to be clear that today when developers create apps that ask for certain information from people, we conduct a robust review to identify potential policy violations and to assess whether the app has a legitimate use for the data. We actually reject a significant number of apps through this process.”


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Trump is openly colluding with Ukraine to smear Biden

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President Donald Trump is defending his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, one that recent media reports suggest may have been made in order to dig up dirt about one of Trump's likeliest and strongest opponents in the 2020 election, former Vice President Joe Biden.

This article first appeared on Salon.

"The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, want to stay as far away as possible from the Joe Biden demand that the Ukrainian Government fire a prosecutor who was investigating his son, or they won’t get a very large amount of U.S. money, so they fabricate a story about me and a perfectly fine and routine conversation I had with the new President of the Ukraine," Trump tweeted on Saturday. "Nothing was said that was in any way wrong, but Biden’s demand, on the other hand, was a complete and total disaster. The Fake News knows this but doesn’t want to report!"

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Democrats’ refusal to impeach Trump is a ‘bigger national scandal’ than him breaking the law: Ocasio-Cortez

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., criticized House Democrats on Saturday for their unwillingness to impeach President Donald Trump despite new revelations that he may have pressured Ukraine to dig up dirt on one of his potential Democratic rivals in 2020, former Vice President Joe Biden.

This article first appeared in Salon.

"At this point, the bigger national scandal isn’t the president’s lawbreaking behavior - it is the Democratic Party’s refusal to impeach him for it," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Saturday night.

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Mnuchin admits White House has transcript of Ukraine call and ‘they’re going to be kept confidential’

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Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin confirmed on Sunday that the White House does have a transcript of President Donald Trump's call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

During an interview on NBC's Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd asked Mnuchin if he had an objection to Congress' request to see a transcript in which Trump allegedly asks Zelensky to open an investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

While confirming that a transcript of the call exists, Mnuchin said that House Democrats have no right to see it.

"What I have a problem with is Congress asking for a transcript between world leaders," he told Todd. "I think that those are confidential discussions and that’s a difficult precedent."

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