Since it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica mis-accessed the personal data of millions of Facebook users, an issue persisted in the mind of the public: What other data Did Dr. Aleksandr Kogan have access?
Twitter confirmed on Saturday to The Telegraph that GSR, Kogan's own commercial venture, had purchased a unique API access to a random sample of public tweets from a five-month period between December 2014 and April 2015. Twitter told Bloomberg that, following an internal review, the company found no access to private data on people using Twitter.
Twitter sells API access to large organizations or companies for the purpose of studying sentiment or opinion at various events, or around certain topics or ideas.
Here's what a Twitter spokesman told the Telegraph:
Twitter also made the decision to exclude advertising from all accounts held and operated by Cambridge Analytica. This decision is based on our decision that Cambridge Analytica operates using a business model that is inherently in conflict with the acceptable business practices of Twitter Ads. Cambridge Analytica can remain an organic user on our platform, according to Twitter rules.
Obviously, this is not the same scope as the data collected on Facebook users. Twitter's user data is much less personal. The location on the platform is opt-in and generic, and users are not obliged to use their real name on the platform.
Still, this shows just how far Cambridge Analytica's data collection was ahead of the 2016 elections.
We contacted Twitter and we will update it when we hear.