Cambridge Analytica suspends CEO after Facebook row

Federico Mansilla
Marcha 21, 2018

Investors punished Facebook after Cambridge Analytica, which had ties to President Trump's 2016 campaign, reportedly accessed information from about 50 million Facebook users to influence voters. "Nix's recent comments secretly recorded by Channel 4 and other allegations do not represent the values or operations of the firm and his suspension reflects the seriousness with which we view this violation", a statement from Cambridge Analytica said.

Lawmakers in Europe and the United States have demanded an explanation of how the consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, gained access to the data in 2014 and why Facebook failed to inform its users, raising broader industry questions about consumer privacy.

Cambridge Analytica is being investigated by British officials for its handling of Facebook users' personal data.

Nix also referenced his appearance before the house intelligence congressional committee in the USA, which he suggests was not particularly onerous to navigate. "After five minutes - done".

Facebook acknowledged that its data was obtained for political purposes after the reports surfaced, though they claimed it had been obtained ostensibly for academic research purposes. "They don't understand how it works", he added.

Tavis McGinn says he thinks the unauthorized use of data involves more companies than just Cambridge Analytica.

The developments are the latest in what has become a growing political scandal for the Menlo Park, Calif. -based company, which is facing mounting criticism over fake news, political interference and its platform's role in elections in several countries.

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Brad Parscale, the 2016 Trump campaign's main digital adviser who dealt regularly with Cambridge Analytica, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

He also said the company could "offer a large amount of money" to a rival candidate and have the whole exchange recorded so it could be posted on the internet to show that the candidate was corrupt.

"A lot of the damage has already been done, and it is very hard to rebuild trust", he says.

He also said he could "send some girls around to the candidate's house." adding that Ukrainian girls "are very attractive, I find that works very well". The videos at times include Nix as well as Mark Turnbull, the managing director of Cambridge Analytica Political Global, and Alex Tayler, the chief data officer. She has also asked Facebook to cease its own audit of Cambridge Analytica's data use.

The television station said it filmed a series of meetings at London hotels from November to January, during which a Channel 4 reporter posed as an operative for a wealthy client hoping to get candidates elected in Sri Lanka. One Cambridge Analytica executive reported discussed using "proxy" groups, including charities and activist organizations, to disseminate propaganda.

The proposed class action would represent investors who bought Facebook shares between February 3, 2017, when Facebook filed an annual report that plaintiff said "offered only a non-specific representation concerning data security", through March 19, two days after a New York Times story was published. "But then it also has to make you wonder, are Facebook's best days behind it?" The company also denied that Wylie was a founding employee, as he has claimed in interviews.

Some commentators have questioned exactly what Nix's suspension means, as Cambridge Analytica has only a paper existence: Alexander Nix is actually CEO of SCL Elections.

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