NY Times: Consultants to the Trump campaign accessed 50 million Facebook accounts illegally (UPDATE)

UPDATE: Directly above, we have added a video posted by NBC News of Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix. Nix did not know he was being taped as reporters from NBC News' U.K. partner ITN Channel 4 News pose as potential clients who want to disrupt the Sri Lankan elections.


According to a report in today's New York Times, a company called Cambridge Analytica illegally grabbed data from 50 million Facebook profiles without the permission of the account owners. This was allegedly done for the 2014 mid-term elections as Cambridge was the recipient of a $15 million investment from loaded Republican donor Robert Mercer. Cambridge also attracted the attention of Mercer's political advisor, Stephen Bannon, by promising to develop a method to identify personality traits of U.S. voters and guide them into voting GOP.

The Times article is based on information it obtained from documents and from former Cambridge employees and associates. The company was able to create one of the largest data leaks in Facebook history. This allowed Cambridge to hone its system in time for Republicans to use the data obtained illegally, to work on President Donald Trump's presidential campaign in 2016.

Cambridge still has control of this data, and Facebook has yet to state that the data was stolen from it. As it turns out, Cambridge says that it paid for the data from a researcher who claimed that he was collecting it for academic reasons. The researcher, a Russian-American by the name of Aleksandr Kogan, has been suspended from using Facebook along with Cambridge Analytica and the latter's co-founder, Christopher Wylie.

Cambridge CEO Alexander Nix denied obtaining and employing Facebook data during previous hearings. However, he changed his tune in a statement to the Times, although he put the blame on the researcher Kogan. He also said that the data was deleted two-years ago, contradicting others familiar with the story.

The data used by Cambridge Analytica came from an app built by the Russian-American Kogan, who was a psychology professor at Cambridge University. The professor was familiar with a similar app built by the University’s Psychometrics Centre, which uses "Likes" put up by Facebook users to come up with personality traits of these social media users. The information was used by the Trump campaign to target the placement of things like digital ads and fund-raising requests. The data was also used to figure out where the campaign should spend $5 million in television ads, and where to send Trump for personal appearances.

Is there something shady about Cambridge Analtyical? Consider that CEO Nix was recorded by Channel 4 TV in Britain as saying that he has used front companies and ex-spies on behalf of political clients. But the political clients are getting harder to find. In fact, no American campaigns have appeared to sign up for the company's services for the 2018 mid-term election, and it is unknown whether the Trump 2020 re-election campaign will use them again.

source: NYTimes, NBC



2. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1439; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

Some highly dubious practices have been used in the lead up to the presidential election in 2016 with yet another Russian(-American) tie in. Maybe Putin will be Trump's running mate in 2020.

5. jove39

Posts: 2147; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

No Collusion ;)

92. Klinton

Posts: 1409; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

For some $peanuts, PA is ready to make a suicide! No self respect and decency ? Sad:( Wasn't this a tech site, or I'm mistaken? I'm not here for NY Times ''news''

10. audibot

Posts: 649; Member since: Jan 26, 2017

no human is a saint once you embrace that you can feel better and move on with your life

42. Macready

Posts: 1824; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

No one asked for a saint. But it's a Grand Canyon sized stretch to make a career conman and pathological liar, anywhere near trustworthy without having to resort to false equivalencies and other textbook fallacies. But give it a go. Every audience deserves a clown.

75. isprobi

Posts: 797; Member since: May 30, 2011

So you would prefer a career liar and criminal who refuses to take any responsibility for running a poor campaign?

81. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

The clowns were Hillary, Obama and all their thief gang who ruled the country for the past 8 years... All these conspiracy theories lead to a hot stinking pile of poop. Nothing more. FaceBook is responsible for their own data and who can say that data was exactly used to manipulate people?? And if anyone says FB can manipulate people to not vot for Hillary and vote for Trump it's an insult to the great legal Americans.

84. AxelFoley unregistered

"And if anyone says FB can manipulate people to not vot for Hillary and vote for Trump it's an insult to the great legal Americans." Cambridge Anaytica says they can manipulate people. If you could read and comprehend the story then you'd understand that. If you still can't comprehend, they provided a video for you. Con men con people with fake universities, selling steak online, saying other countries will pay for walls, everyone will be insured, the defecit will be eliminated (when it exploded), promising not to touch medicare (though their budget guts it), saying their campaign had no communication with Russians, saying they had people looking into a guy's birth and they were finding incredible things (he had no one, they found nothing), he would have evidence 3 million voted illegally (he disbanded his voter council and they had nothing), his building was wiretapped and he'd provide evidence, he'd release his returns if he got the nomination........people who believed this nonsense should feel insulted because they are stupid.

86. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

That's exactly my point. People aren't as stupid as you think. They don't get fooled by all these media stories. They know how to fact check and most importantly they KNOW in their hearts that who is the thief and who is the genuine man. This notion that is saying all those Americans were fooled merely by these fb posts are insane and hilarious. This is just another excuse story Dems want to put out juet because they lost in 2016. Dems also has used these services before and no one complained about that then...

83. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

There was nothing on those fb posts about Hillary that were false. Many of those fb posts contained how corrupt Hillary is as a politician all her life and how she and her crony husband earned millions and millions of dollars from Russia an various other countries in return of American wealth such as Uranium. People ought to know those FACTS one way or the other because American main stream media do not like to talk about those things.

85. AxelFoley unregistered

I need your help. Please explain the money for the Uranium that is not licensed to leave the US.

87. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Licensed by Hillary Clinton on her own will without properly going to the congress, approved by her friend the puppet president who does not love his country Mr. Barack Obama. And just a few months after that transaction Bill received a huge paycheck just for a speech he made in Russia.....LOL Give me a break. 20% Uranium is priceless and even nuclear weapons could be made using those materials. That is just a one of a phony business deals she made during her loooooong political carrier. Under Trump's admin all these previous phony deals are coming in to surface and people are getting fired left and right. An indictment for Hillary and even Obama is not far away, just watch...

95. AxelFoley unregistered

1. The actual production capacity is 11%, not 20, and it has to be used in the US. #FACTS 2. Nuclear powers such as Russia have ready access to plutonium and don't waste time and money with the uranium enrichment process for weapons 3. Russia doesn't and never had a license to export uranium outside the US. 4. Bill Clinton gave 13 speeches at more than $500k in 13 countries. It's a little far-fetched to believe the 1 Russia speech was a quid pro quo. 5. Clinton was not involved in the approval process. 6. 9 other agencies also recommended the sale. 7. The allegations came from a Breitbart published book. We'll just keep waiting for those indictments.

90. turboC6

Posts: 89; Member since: Feb 19, 2018

The only clowns are the idiots on the Left. We've all had enough. GO AWAY.

61. chebner

Posts: 249; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

WOW!! The political BS has even infected phonearena. I guess I'll need to go elsewhere for new phone research when I'm in the market.

64. cozze02

Posts: 130; Member since: Nov 25, 2012

Yeah this is pretty pathetic, but then again it's that garbage posting, Hilary loving author

80. lyndon420

Posts: 6834; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

It's the facebook involvement that brought it here.

91. turboC6

Posts: 89; Member since: Feb 19, 2018

This has nothing to do with FB. PA is just part of the Left Wing propaganda that has taken control of ALL media.

63. cozze02

Posts: 130; Member since: Nov 25, 2012

Oops I must me on the wrong site, I wanted phone arena not CNN.


Posts: 2817; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

Dump Trump! Most pathetic US president ever!

96. LionStone

Posts: 1048; Member since: Dec 10, 2010

Have some more coolaid hah...

68. rouyal

Posts: 1583; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

Democrats just mad they didn’t think of it, haha!!

78. Grenmad

Posts: 38; Member since: Jun 06, 2014

They did. Obama did the SAME thing and facebook knew about it and ignored it. Google his campaign director Carol Davidson and her response on this issue. Of course phonearena wouldn't mention this in this https://ijr.com/2018/03/1077083-ex-obama-campaign-director-fb/

69. Tipus

Posts: 894; Member since: Sep 30, 2016

Well, that escalated quickly :)))

70. Xperia14

Posts: 1208; Member since: Sep 01, 2015

CNN Arena.

97. LionStone

Posts: 1048; Member since: Dec 10, 2010

Yea, too bad they didn't include in the story that Obama used this service first and actually I read reports that Trump did NOT use it at the last minute.

76. Grenmad

Posts: 38; Member since: Jun 06, 2014

Why is this even news? Obama's own campaign director Carol Davidson stated that they did the same thing. https://ijr.com/2018/03/1077083-ex-obama-campaign-director-fb/

77. gamehead unregistered

Gave up on FB years ago

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.