According to Christopher Wylie, who worked with the data firm Cambridge Analytica, the 2016 campaign had been in talks with the data firm before President Donald Trump ever announced he was running.
Cambridge Analytica is under fire from Facebook for distributing data on 15 million users, which is against their terms of service. He explained that the company was also working extensively with Russia including Russian oil companies and a psychologist that was working on Russian-funded projects going back and forth between London and Russia. The psychologist focused on profiling Facebook users’ personalities.
“So, I really think it’s important for Americans to know what this company has been doing with their data,” Wylie said. “And I really think it’s important to find out, was this data used to help elect Donald Trump.”
While he left the company in 2014, he said he knows that they were meeting with Trump campaign officials Corey Lewandowski and Steve Bannon in 2015 prior to Trump’s announcement.
He explained that Cambridge Analytica was born from another company that was a defense contractor based out of London. The data then was used to “profile algorithms to allow them to explore mental vulnerabilities in people and map out ways to inject information into different streams of channels of content online so people started to see things all over the place that may or may not have been true.”
Wylie said that Cambridge Analytica “took fake news to a new level by pairing it with algorithms.”
If enough information is injected into someone’s online experience and they’re being bombarded by it in many different places, there is a greater chance they’ll believe it, which he called “informational dominance.”
While political ads say the candidate’s name and proclaim “I approved this message,” the work by Cambridge Analytica has no disclosure requirement.
“What Cambridge Analytica does is create a web of disinformation online so people start going down the rabbit hole of clicking on blogs, websites, etc… that make people think that certain things are happening that may not be,” he continued.
Cambridge Analytica has attempted to discredit Wylie and claimed they have a restraining order out against him. Wylie said that this isn’t true. The company is currently suing to stop a televised expose on the company.
The more important thing for him is that people know what their data is being used for.
Watch the full interview below: