Twitter says it doesn't want Cambridge Analytica's money, and has banned the research company from buying ads on its platform. CA, which was at the heart of the Facebook data scandal (opens in new tab), received a ticking off for its business model, which "inherently conflicts with acceptable Twitter Ads business practices".
"Twitter has made the policy decision to off-board advertising from all accounts owned and operated by Cambridge Analytica," Twitter said in a statement to Bloomberg Technology (opens in new tab).
"This decision is based on our determination that Cambridge Analytica operates using a business model that inherently conflicts with acceptable Twitter Ads business practices. Cambridge Analytica may remain an organic user on our platform, in accordance with the Twitter Rules."
Six degrees of Cambridge Analytica
This isn't the first time Twitter and Cambridge Analytica have been connected. As reported by the Telegraph (opens in new tab), Global Science Research (GSR) – the company that developed the Facebook app that harvested data from millions of users – also bought data from Twitter in late 2014 and early 2015.
That might sound alarming, but don't rush to delete your tweets just yet. After an audit, Twitter determined that GSR only bought data that was accessible to the public anyway.
"Based on the recent reports, we conducted our own internal review and did not find any access to private data about people who use Twitter," the company said.
"Unlike many other services, Twitter is public by its nature. People come to Twitter to speak publicly, and public Tweets are viewable and searchable by anyone. GSR did have one-time API access to a random sample of public Tweets for a five-month period from December 2014 to April 2015."
Cash for tweets
It's no secret that selling data is one of Twitter's key sources of income, but it's not a simple process. Before it will hand over the tweets, Twitter insists its customers explain what they're planning to do with them and why. Twitter also practices portion control, only giving access to tweets published over a limited period of time. That's very unlike the rules Facebook had in place when GSR's app was gathering up information about your friends' political views.
Although GSR's shopping habits were above board, Cambridge Analytica was quick to deny receiving or using any data obtained this way.
Cambridge Analytica has never received Twitter data from GSR orAleksandr Kogan, and has never done any work with GSR on Twitter data. GSR was only ever a contractor to Cambridge Analytica and we understand it did work for many other companies.30 April 2018
CA issued this denial via its Twitter account, which it's allowed to keep for now – provided it keeps its nose clean.