Cambridge Analytical Suspends CEO Amid Facebook Data Scandal
British data mining firm, Cambridge Analytica suspended its CEO, Alexander Nix earlier today. The company announced in a statement just before a potentially explosive segment of Channel 4 News’ undercover investigation into the firm’s activities was set to be released.
Cambridge Analytica’s Board of Directors said in a written statement, “In the view of the Board, Mr. Nix’s recent comments secretly recorded by Channel 4 and other allegations do not represent the values or operations of the firm, and his suspension reflects the seriousness with which we view this violation.”
In the first segment of Channel 4’s report, released on Monday, Nix discusses tactics used by Cambridge Analytica to undermine the credibility of a client’s political opponent. He told an undercover operative posing as an agent from Sri Lanka, “We’ll have a wealthy developer come in, somebody posing as a wealthy developer. They will offer a large amount of money to the candidate, to finance his campaign in exchange for land, for instance. We’ll have the whole thing recorded on cameras. We’ll blank out the face of our guy and then post it on the internet…send some girls around to the candidate’s house. We have lots of history with these things.”
The second segment of the report, released earlier today, focused on Cambridge Analytica’s efforts on behalf of the Trump Campaign.
Nix said, “Many times (when asked if he met with Donald Trump). We did all the research, all the data, all the analytics, all the targeting. We ran all the digital campaign, the television campaign, and our data-informed all the strategy.”
When asked by the undercover operative if the firm would provide information to US Congressional investigators about its links “with foreign actors and powers” Nix insisted US investigators have no jurisdiction and it’s none of their business.
When asked about his voluntary testimony before the US House Intelligence Committee Nix said, “I went to speak with them, and the Republicans asked three questions. Five minutes. Done. The Democrats asked two hours of questions. We have no secrets. They’re politicians; they’re not technical. They don’t understand how it works. They don’t understand because the candidate never, is never involved.”
Cambridge Analytica, a US spin-off of a British Company, was the brainchild of former Senior Advisor to President, Steve Bannon. At the time Bannon was the founding board member and editor at breitbart.com. Breitbart’s chief financiers, billionaire Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebecca invested millions in the new firm.
The company maintained a low profile and experimented with social media platforms to see how it might utilize mined data to create voter profiles. After the 2016 Presidential election, Cambridge Analytica gained notoriety, and Mr. Nix became a famous personality on the technical speaking circuit.