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Schiff invites professor accused of harvesting Facebook data to testify

Schiff invites professor accused of harvesting Facebook data to testify
© Greg Nash

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTrump addresses pandemic but not election during annual turkey pardon Trump relents as GSA informs Biden transition to begin Hillicon Valley: Leadership changes at top cyber agency raise national security concerns | Snapchat launches in-app video platform 'Spotlight' | Uber, Lyft awarded federal transportation contract MORE (Calif.), said Wednesday he has formally invited Aleksandr Kogan, a researcher who provided Facebook data on millions of people to Cambridge Analytica, to testify before his committee.

As many as 50 million Facebook users reportedly had their profiles mined for data without their permission by Cambridge Analytica ahead of the 2016 election.

"We have reached out to Aleksandr Kogan. And I don’t think we’ve heard back yet, but we would hope that he would testify as well," Schiff said.

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Kogan, a Cambridge University psychology professor, ran Global Science Research, a firm that provided the data to Cambridge Analytica. Christopher Wylie, a whistleblower from the firm, said that Kogan had worked with Cambridge Analytica in obtaining the data.

Kogan has said he is a scapegoat in the scandal and claimed to not have known that the data was being used to target voters.

Schiff requested that, in addition to appearing before the committee, Kogan also provide “communications and correspondence with Cambridge Analytica, SCL Group” as well as “[CEO] Alexander Nix, Christopher Wylie, [former Trump campaign chairman Stephen] Bannon," and other staffers.

Schiff has said plans for Wylie to testify are “still being nailed down.”

On Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergDemocrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff Democrats press Facebook, Twitter on misinformation efforts ahead of Georgia runoff Hillicon Valley: Facebook content moderators demand more workplace protections | Ousted cyber official blasts Giuliani press conference | Tech firms fall short on misinformation targeting Latino vote MORE addressed the controversy for the first time, acknowledging the company had "made mistakes."

“We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can't then we don't deserve to serve you. I've been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn't happen again,” Zuckerberg said.

Olivia Beavers contributed.