Executives from Cambridge Analytica, which was hired by the Trump presidential campaign, have been caught on tape promising an extraordinary package of propaganda strategies to potential clients including filming opponents in compromising situations with Ukrainian sex workers.
Over the weekend a whistleblower who worked with Cambridge came forward to claim that the company had surreptitiously misused the Facebook data of 50 million people in order to win election campaigns.
Alexander Nix, the CEO of Cambridge Analytica, was seen on tape talking to undercover reporters from Channel 4 News saying that his operatives would never be caught because they worked all over the world using a number of front organizations.
The U.K. information commissioner responded to the Channel 4 News footage by announcing that she would apply for a warrant to enter the Cambridge Analytica offices to seize evidence. Hours later, at around 11 p.m. local time, a senior politician announced that Facebook “auditors and legal counsel” had just been ordered to leave the Cambridge Analytica offices by British officials.
British Prime Minister Theresa May backed an investigation into Facebook and Cambridge Analytica on Monday, and the European Union said it would launch a probe into the alleged misuse of private data.
On the undercover film, Nix’s colleague Mark Turnbull, the managing director of Cambridge Analytica Political Global, explained that the plausible deniability was a crucial element and said it was vital that people seeing false rumors online never discovered where they were coming from.
“We just put information into the bloodstream of the internet and then watch it grow, give it a little push every now and again,” he said. “Like a remote control. It has to happen without anyone thinking, ‘That’s propaganda,’ because the moment you think, ‘That’s propaganda,’ the next question is, ‘Who’s put that out?’”