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Vesselin Popov: Facebook is manipulative

Cambridge University Psychometrics Centre director Vesselin Popov believes Facebook is "emotionally manipulative" when it comes to its privacy terms and conditions.

The social media platform has hit headlines several times over the past few months after concerns were raised about user privacy and how the site shares data with third parties.

Now, Vesselin - whose team at Cambridge were caught up in a scandal after Cambridge Analytica used their data to harvest information from 80 million Facebook profiles without consent - has slammed the likes of Facebook and Google for not allowing their users to "freely give" consent for their data to be used, as they don't really have a choice.

He said: "Both Facebook and Google have taken an approach that seem to be very much inconsistent with the notion of freely given consent because it isn't freely given - its a bit like holding a gun to your head. Either you consent or if you don't consent then you don't have a choice to go anywhere else and I think that's emotionally manipulative of those companies."

Vesselin added that now would be the perfect time for a new social media platform which allowed users to upload their data from Facebook, to give the site a reason to adapt its privacy settings in order to keep its large user base.

He told Wired UK: "It's difficult to imagine. If I were a startup or an entrepreneur I would make a new social network (as ridiculous as that sounds) where you can upload your Facebook data.

"Now because of GDPR you can go on Facebook and you can download all of your Facebook data from whenever you started your account and they have to give you everything they have. Of course they're not compliant but in a legal sense that will change and there's a lot of stuff there.

"The problem is you can't actually take that data anywhere else: I would want to have the photos I uploaded 10 years ago and all my friend connections and so on but I'd want to have it somewhere else on another platform."

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