Facebook's big Cambridge Analytica problem began when former Cambridge Analytica research director Christopher Wylie came forward with evidence that his company had harvested the private data of 50 million Americans on Facebook without authorization. Cambridge Analytica said in a statement that it deleted "all Facebook data and their derivatives" and did not use any of that data in its work for President Trump's campaign, but Wylie told CNN's Don Lemon on Monday night that the company's denial doesn't make sense. Cambridge Analytica's entire business model, including algorithms and data sets, was derived from the Facebook mining, he said.
Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix was meeting with Corey Lewandowski, soon to be Trump's campaign manager, in the spring of 2015, before Trump announced his candidacy and while Cambridge Analytica was still working for Ted Cruz's campaign, Wylie said. And in 2014, "we were testing all kinds of messages and all kinds of imagery — that included images of walls, people scaling walls, we tested 'drain the swamp,' testing ideas of the 'deep state,'" he added. "And a lot of these narratives, which at the time would have seemed crazy for a mainstream candidate to run on, those were the things that we were finding that there were pockets of Americans who this really appealed to. And Steve Bannon knew that, because we were doing the research on it. And I was surprised when I saw the Trump campaign and it started, you know, talking about building walls or draining the swamp."
In the final part, Wylie expresses regret over the "morally egregious" data weapon he helped set up. You can watch the entire segment below. Peter Weber