Facebook suspends account of Cambridge Analytica whistle-blower

Chris Wylie, the whistleblower who has alleged the knowingly improper use of Facebook data by Cambridge Analytica, says The Social Network™ has suspended his account.

Wylie took to Twitter with the following missive.

Wylie’s allegations appeared over the weekend in The New York Times and The Observer and detail how Cambridge Analytica sought and acquired Facebook-derived data on more than 50 million people and used the trove to conduct micro-targeted political campaigns thought to have contributed to the election of Donald Trump and the leave vote carrying the Brexit referendum.

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Cambridge Analytica’s links to alt-right groups and the whiff of privacy invasions have made it a subject of considerable interest, with execs appearing before the UK Parliament’s Culture Media and Sport select committee. Parliamentary committee to explain itself. Wylie’s allegations paint the company as ruthless in pursuit of data that would let it deliver on its promises.

CBS news reports that Facebook and Wylie have been in contact, with The Social Network™ saying “Mr. Wylie has refused to cooperate with us until we lift the suspension on his account. Given he said he ‘exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles,’ we cannot do this at this time.”

Cambridge Analytica has also taken to Twitter, as follows.

That’s an interesting one as it suggests the firm and Facebook have not previously been in contact, despite Facebook knowing its data had gone astray.

Another interesting one, given Cambridge Analytica’s assumed role in the Brexit vote. However both Tweets are also a little porous: the language used allows the possibility that Cambridge Analytica holds Facebook-derived data from sources other than profiles, or could have provided services to pro-Brexit organisations other than the Leave campaign.

The Register has sought comment from Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and Wylie and will update this story or write a new one if they offer any additional information. ®

Bootnote: Another of Cambridge Analytica’s Tweets tried to paint its electioneering activities as anodyne.

As luck would have it, The Register encountered the Obama campaign’s chief technology officer, Harper Reed, in 2013. Here’s how we reported some of what he had to say.

We also wrote the following:

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