|Born||1985/1986 (age 35–36)|
|Education||University of California, Berkeley (BA)|
University of Hong Kong (MA, PhD)
|Occupation||CEO of Philometrics, psychologist and data scientist, University of Cambridge|
Aleksandr Kogan (born 1985/86), who has also briefly used the name Dr Spectre, is a Moldovan-born American data scientist, who is known for having developed the app that allowed Cambridge Analytica to collect personal details of 80 million Facebook users. He worked as a research associate at the University of Cambridge.
Kogan was born in what was then the Moldavian SSR in the USSR (now independent Moldova). His father is Jewish. He lived in Moscow before moving to the United States aged seven. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 2008, and a PhD from the University of Hong Kong in 2011.
Kogan had a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto before moving to Cambridge. He has been a lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge since 2012, after which he became a Senior Research Associate until 2018. His page there states, "My lab investigates the prosociality and well-being from biological, psychological, and cross-cultural perspectives". Kogan is the CEO and founder of Philometrics, another big data analytics firm.
Kogan has also had an affiliation with the University of St. Petersburg in Russia, receiving funding for research on social media data mining and giving at least three lectures (in Russian) there since 2014. He declared this affiliation to the university, which nevertheless contributed to allegations that he was a Russian spy. He also received funding for research from UK, US, Canadian, and Chinese governments.
Kogan developed the app, named "This Is Your Digital Life," that allowed Cambridge Analytica to collect personal details of 80 million Facebook users. Interviewed by BBC Radio 4's Today programme and by CNN, he said that he was being used as a scapegoat by Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. Kogan said that he didn't know they would use the data to target voters, and attempted to downplay the potential efficacy of micro-targeting using the data he collected. During his time at Cambridge, he had an active collaboration and was a consultant for Facebook.
In 2019 Kogan and Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix settled with the Federal Trade Commission over allegations that they used deceptive tactics to collect personal information from tens of millions of Facebook users for voter profiling and targeting, and agreed to delete previously obtained data.
Kogan was "temporarily known as Aleksandr Spectre" in 2015.
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