Academic researchers scrape Facebook user data


In 2014, a team of four Swedish and Polish researchers began scraping every comment and interaction from 160 public Facebook pages. By two years later, they had collected one of the largest sets of user data ever assembled from the social network; it enabled them to track the behaviour of 368 million members. Techniques like those the researchers used have been used by scholars around the world for a decade to compile hundreds of Facebook data sets of all sizes. Many have been used for research; however, afterwards the information has often been left unsecured on open servers, where it could be easily copied, sold, and used for advertising or political targeting, as in the Cambridge Analytica case.

Writer: Sheera Frenkel

Publication: New York Times

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