Senior executives at Cambridge Analytica and its parent company, Strategic Communications Laboratories, were apparently secretly filmed by Britain's Channel 4 News suggesting they have used bribes and other shady techniques to influence more than 200 elections across the globe. Cambridge Analytica was a Trump campaign contractor in 2016, and it was reported this weekend that the company harvested 50 million American Facebook profiles for electioneering, a major data breach.
In order to get the footage, a Channel 4 News reporter "posed as a fixer for a wealthy client hoping to get candidates elected in Sri Lanka." In one clip, Cambridge Analytica's chief executive, Alexander Nix, appears to suggest to the undercover reporter that he could "send some girls around to the candidate's house" as a means of getting dirt on the opponent, adding Ukrainians "are very beautiful, I find that works very well."
Cambridge Analytica's global political managing director, Mark Turnbull, was also included in the meetings, and he talked about putting "information into the bloodstream of the internet" and said "it has to happen without anyone thinking, 'That's propaganda,' because the moment you think [that] the next question is, 'Who's put that out?'"
Nix additionally expressed an eagerness to work with the undercover reporter. "We're used to operating through different vehicles, in the shadows," he said, "and I look forward to building a very long-term and secretive relationship with you."
A Cambridge Analytica spokesman said: "We entirely refute any allegation that Cambridge Analytica or any of its affiliates use entrapment, bribes, or so-called 'honey-traps' for any purpose whatsoever" and that "we routinely undertake conversations with prospective clients to try to tease out any unethical or illegal intentions." Watch below, and read more about the undercover investigation via Channel 4 News here. Jeva Lange