Controversial British firm Cambridge Analytica is back in the news this week after being kicked off Facebook for misusing personal information culled from users.
A just-released report from the New York Times could make a bad week worse. The report finds that the company had contacts with Russians about targeting American voters going back to 2014.
This contradicts what the company told a government inquisition in February.
“As far as I’m aware, we’ve never worked for a Russian company,” the company’s head, Alexander Nix, told the British Parliament. “We’ve never worked with a Russian organization in Russia or any other country, and we don’t have any relationship with Russia or Russian individuals.”
According to the Times, executives from Lukoil, the Russian oil giant with close ties to Vladimir Putin, approached the company about influencing elections during three meetings in 2014 and 2015.
And the company appears to have acted on those meetings.
“Cambridge Analytica also included extensive questions about Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, in surveys it was carrying out in American focus groups in 2014,” the Times story says. “It is not clear what — or which client — prompted the line of questioning, which asked for views on topics ranging from Mr. Putin’s popularity to Russian expansionism.”
Cambridge Analytica has pushed back on Twitter, with a statement that appears to question the creditability of the Times sources.
These “unnamed sources” are not familiar with our databases. https://t.co/bo2g1d26Bh
— Cambridge Analytica (@CamAnalytica) March 17, 2018
Read the full report here.