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Russia-Linked Cambridge Analytica Academic: ‘I’m a Scapegoat’

The Russia-linked academic who created the app that helped Cambridge Analytica harvest data from more than 50 million people says the controversial data company and Facebook are using him as “a scapegoat.” Aleksandr Kogan told BBC Radio on Wednesday morning that he did work for Cambridge Analytica in 2014, but claimed he had no idea it would be used to help elect Donald Trump two years later. He created the This Is Your Digital Life app, which collected data both from users and public information from users’ friends. The academic, an associate professor at St. Petersburg State University who was given Russian government grants to fund other research into social media, insisted he believed what he was doing was legal and legitimate. “The events of the past week have been a total shell shock, and my view is that I’m being basically used as a scapegoat by both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica when... we thought we were doing something that was really normal,” Kogan said. “We were assured by Cambridge Analytica that everything was perfectly legal and within the terms of service,” adding: “One of the great mistakes I did here was I just didn’t ask enough questions.”