Bribery, using prostitutes, using ex spies as well as fake identity. The executives of Cambridge Analytica, hugely involved in the Donald Trump presidential campaign in 2016 but also in the pro-Brexit campaign, were videotaped during an undercover investigation conducted by journalists while they were talking about the traps they can set for politicians.
Between November 2017 – January 2018, a reporter from Channel 4 News who claimed to be a middle man for a wealthy client from Sri Lanka, with the purpose of choosing some candidates, met with important executives from Cambridge Analytica many times, the company that claims credits for Donald Trump winning the 2016 presidential elections. The journalists videotaped them with a hidden camera while they were saying they can compromise politicians using prostitutes from the Ukraine or by bribing them.
Even the CEO of the company, Alexander Nix, said that Cambridge Analytica is secretly involved in election campaigns from all over the world through shell corporations or subcontractors. He explained that there are many methods they can use, including sending “some girls to the candidate’s house” adding that “women from the Ukraine are “very beautiful” and, in his opinion, “this works very well“.
“We’ll offer a large sum of money to the candidate to fund the campaign in exchange for some land, for example, we’re going to record everything, we’re erase the face of our guy from the video and we’re going to leak it online” Nix said during another meeting.
As a result of the secret video recorded by Channel 4 News, Cambridge Analytica suspended CEO Alexander Nix pending a full investigation.
The director of the Political Global department of Cambridge Analytica, Mark Turnbull, also attended the meeting, along with data guy Alex Tayler.
Involved in election campaigns from all over the world, including Eastern Europe
Mark Turnbull described the way the company uses compromising data about political opponents on social networks and online: ” It must happen without anyone thinking this is propaganda because they might ask who is behind the leak“.
During the meetings, the executives of Cambridge Analytica said that the company was involved in more than 200 election campaigns from all over the world, including countries such as Kenya, Czech, India, Argentina and Nigeria.
Mark Turnbull said that the company ran a successful project in a country in Eastern Europe as well. He also added that efficient Israeli and British companies are involved in “gathering information”.
Cambridge Analytica Uncovered: Secret filming reveals election tricks
Right now Cambridge Analytica is facing a huge scandal regarding the way the company collected data from millions of Facebook users. According to an investigation conducted by The New York Times and The Observer, Cambridge Analytica got illegal access to the private data of 50 million Facebook users, using them to create a software for predicting and influencing the votes in favor of Donald Trump, for which Cambridge Analytica worked in 2016.
Facebook suspended Cambridge Analytica after it was noticed that the company breached the Facebook terms and conditions. Facebook also suspended the access of Strategic Communication Laboratories ( the company that is controlling Cambridge Analytica ). Facebook also suspended the account of psychologist Aleksandr Kogan from the Cambridge University, the man behind the massive data gathering on Facebook. Allegedly, Kogan might also have ties with a university from Russia.
According to media sources, Aleksandr Kogan was an associate professor at the State University in Sankt Petersburg and he got funding from the Russian Government to do social media research.
Unprecedented crisis for Facebook
The Cambridge Analytica scandal throws Facebook into an unprecedented crisis. Because of these revelings, the Facebook shares recorded a significant drop on Monday when the market opened.
Just one hour after the New York market opened, the Facebook shares dropped by more than 7%, which cancelled almost $30 billion from the market capital of the Facebook social network.
The European Commission asked Facebook to provide clarifications regarding this situation. “From the perspective of the European Commission, using the private data of Facebook users for political gain – if confirmed – is not acceptable” a statement says.
The President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, announced that the European Parliament will investigate if the private data of 50 million Facebook users were abusively exploited. In a Twitter post, Antonio Tajani urged Facebook to be more responsible, saying that “abusively using the private data of Facebook users is an unacceptable breach of privacy“.
In the United States, Democrat Senator Amy Klobuchar and Republican Senator John Kennedy, members of the Judicial Committee, asked for Mark Zuckerberg to be heard by Congress, just like his counterparts from Google and Twitter.
In the United Kingdom, the spokesperson of Prime Minister Theresa May said that recent information about using private data of Facebook users is “worrying”.
The British authorities are currently seeking to get a search warrant for the offices of Cambridge Analytica.
Also, Mark Zuckerberg was summoned in front of a committee of the British Parliament to provide evidence regarding the way personal data of users have been used by Cambridge Analytica.