Even though Mark Zuckerberg has finally apologized, the ongoing Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal continues to reveal information about the right-wing data harvesting operating and its effect on the 2016 presidential election. According to a former employee, Cambridge Analytica is responsible for several of the Trump campaign’s biggest talking points and it’s all thanks to none other than his former campaign chairman and chief strategist, Steve Bannon.
Per the Washington Post, prior to his time working for the Trump campaign — and with the backing of the wealthy conservative Mercer Family — Bannon oversaw Cambridge Analytica’s efforts to collect Facebook data and build profiles of probable voters:
The 2014 effort was part of a high-tech form of voter persuasion touted by the company, which under Bannon identified and tested the power of anti-establishment messages that later would emerge as central themes in President Trump’s campaign speeches, according to Chris Wylie, who left the company at the end of that year.
Among the messages tested were “drain the swamp” and “deep state,” he said.
Bannon and Rebekah Mercer were both present during conference calls in which Cambridge Analytica’s data-collection scheme was discussed. Moreover, strategies like that could only be approved by Bannon. The data collection started before Trump had officially declared his candidacy, but Wylie says they found the framework for Trump’s campaign in their early examinations of Facebook data finding “a high level of alienation among young, white Americans with a conservative bent.”
As Atlantic writer Natasha Bertrand points out, the research also found a burgeoning Vladimir Putin fandom.
There’s honestly no telling which way this story will go next.
(Via Washington Post)