The Cambridge Analytica chief executive secretly filmed appearing to suggest the firm use ‘beautiful’ Ukrainian sex workers to seduce politicians has been suspended.
Alexander Nix will be replaced by acting CEO Alexander Tayler, the firm’s chief data scientist, who was also secretly filmed during the Channel 4 investigation.
Mr Nix was recorded boasting about the firm’s work during the Donald Trump presidential campaign, saying: ‘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.’
Trump’s campaign team have distanced themselves from the firm, telling Politico earlier today that they have no existing contracts with the firm, and have no plans to do so in the future.
Another executive, Mark Turnbull, was recorded saying the firm were behind the ‘crooked Hillary’ campaign during the 2016 election.
He said: ‘The brand was “Defeat Crooked Hillary”. You’ll remember this of course?
Cambridge Analytica chief executive Alexander Nix (pictured arriving at the office today) was recorded saying he could send Ukrainian women to a candidate’s house
Mr Nix has since been suspended and will be replaced by acting CEO Alexander Tayler, who was also secretly filmed during the Channel 4 investigation
‘The zeros, the OO of crooked were a pair of handcuffs … We made hundreds of different kinds of creative, and we put it online.’
Earlier today Mr Nix claimed he was just ‘humouring’ undercover reporters and denied the London-based company used honeytraps or prostitutes.
Old Etonian Mr Nix faces a storm over footage where he appeared to suggest their election work included entrapping politicians with ‘beautiful girls’ from Ukraine.
But when asked about the alleged use of prostitutes last night he said: ‘No not professionally or personally. I am embarrassed you asked me’.
He added: ‘It’s going to cost us a vast amount of money. But for the rest of history and for my children when they become teenagers they will read this stuff about dad getting in hookers to catch out politicians. I mean I cringe at the idea’.
One filmed meeting, Mr Nix (right) appears to suggest that CA could compromise politicians by sending ‘beautiful’ Ukrainian women to candidates’ houses
The firm, who allegedly tapped the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users, were involved in Donald Trump’s election campaign. Mr Nix says this why they are being targeted
Mr Nix (pictured today) also said earlier today he would resign if it meant the company would survive
Explaining his version of events he told The Times: ‘The guy starts saying we need to change the political landscape, I need to entrap the politicians and how can we do this? So I reeled off some examples and said you could do this, you could do that.
‘There’s an English thing about being slightly embarrassed when someone starts going off on one like this and you humour him a bit and then you leave’.
He added he believed that Cambridge Analytica was being targeted because they helped with Donald Trump’s 2016 US Presidential campaign.
He said ‘appearances can be deceptive’ when asked if the firm had previously used entrapment following the disclosures on Channel 4 News.
When asked if CA would abandon its political work Mr Nix gave no reply but firmly denied he had misled parliament over its use of data, saying ‘absolutely not’.
Mr Nix was also recorded talking about giving evidence to representatives on the House Intelligence Committee in 2017.
‘They’re politicians, they’re not technical. They don’t understand how it works’ he said. ‘They don’t understand because the candidate never, is never involved. He’s told what to do by the campaign team.’
The undercover reporter then asked, ‘so the candidate is the puppet’, to which Mr Nix replied ‘always.’
Storage crates are removed from Cambridge Analytica’s London headquarters today but it is not yet known who has ordered them to be taken away
Senior executives at the data analysis firm that allegedly tapped the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users were secretly filmed boasting about using beautiful Ukrainian women to seduce politicians, according to an undercover television investigation.
A Channel 4 report features recordings of meetings with the firm that allegedly show staff saying they could use ex-spies to dig up dirt on political opponents.
The recordings are part of an undercover investigation by Channel 4 news into the data company that has credited itself with Donald Trump’s presidential victory.
Mr Nix said the British firm have worked in more than 200 elections across the world, including in Nigeria and India, and that it uses front companies or sub-contractors to do so.
In one clip Mr Nix said they could ‘send some girls around to the candidate’s house’ and added that Ukrainian girls ‘are very beautiful, I find that works very well’.
He is also heard saying: ‘We’ll 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, we’ll blank out the face of our guy and we post it on the Internet.’
In a phone call Mr Nix is heard saying to Channel 4’s undercover reporter: ‘I look forward to building a very long term and secretive relationship with you.’
Reporters secretly filmed a series of meetings between November 2017 and January 2018 in which they posed as a fixer for a wealthy client hoping to get candidates elected in Sri Lanka.
Other staff recording in the meetings include Mark Turnbull, the managing director of CA Political Global, and the company’s chief data officer, Dr Alex Tayler.
In the report Mr Turnbull says: ‘We just put information into the bloodstream of the internet, and then, and then watch it grow, give it a little push every now and again… 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?”
A Cambridge Analytica spokesman said: ‘We entirely refute any allegation that Cambridge Analytica or any of its affiliates use entrapment, bribes, or so-called ‘honey-traps’ for any purpose whatsoever… (pictured: Mark Turnbull and Alex Tayler in the Channel 4 news report)
Mr Turnbull is heard saying Cambridge Analytica can discreetly push damaging material gathered on opponents onto social media, and says that he knows people who used to work in MI5 and MI6.
He said: ‘It’s no good fighting an election campaign on the facts because actually it’s all about emotion, it’s all about emotion.’
Mr Turnbull added: ‘We just put information into the bloodstream of the internet, and then, and then watch it grow, give it a little push every now and again… 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?”
In the footage, Mr Turnbull then talks about the Kenyatta campaign, which the company ran in both 2013 an 2017, and says they rebranded the entire party twice as well as writing their manifesto and doing ‘every element’ of his campaign.
A Cambridge Analytica spokesman said: ‘We entirely refute any allegation that Cambridge Analytica or any of its affiliates use entrapment, bribes, or so-called ‘honey-traps’ for any purpose whatsoever…
‘Cambridge Analytica does not use untrue material for any purpose. We routinely undertake conversations with prospective clients to try to tease out any unethical or illegal intentions.’
Mr Nix was also recorded saying: ‘We’ll 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, we’ll blank out the face of our guy and we post it on the Internet’
Earlier this week whistleblower Christopher Wylie said the firm used the private social media activity of a large portion of the U.S. electorate to develop techniques that underpinned its work on President Trump’s campaign in 2016
Earlier this week whistleblower Christopher Wylie told the Guardian that the firm used the private social media activity of a large portion of the U.S. electorate to develop techniques that underpinned its work on President Trump’s campaign in 2016.
Mr Wylie claimed that in 2014 it advertised the This Is Your Digital Life app as a research programme used by psychologists.
Around 270,000 downloaded the app and gave permission for it to access data from their Facebook profiles including their likes and information about friends.
Facebook has since suspended Cambridge Analytica, University of Cambridge psychology professor Aleksandr Kogan who created the harvesting app in question, and Christopher Wylie of Eunoia Technologies (previously employed with Cambridge Analytica), who also allegedly received user data from the app.
In a blog post, Facebook explained that Cambridge Analytica had years ago received user data from a Facebook app that purported to be a psychological research tool, though the firm was not authorized to have the information.
Cambridge Analytica later certified in 2015 that it had destroyed the information it had received, according to Facebook, although the social network said it received reports ‘several days ago’ that not all the data was deleted.
The offices of Cambridge Analytica in central London today, which could be raided
Facebook has said it is investigating.
The social media giant saw £25billion wiped off its value yesterday as the backlash over harvesting the personal details of 50million accounts intensified.
Shares in the social media giant fell 6.7 per cent to their lowest level in five years as web users called for a boycott of the site.
MPs demanded the firm be brought to heel as Theresa May’s spokesman said the allegations surrounding Facebook and British data firm Cambridge Analytica were ‘very concerning’.
Mr Nix arrived at work as the Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham worked to secure a warrant to search computers and servers to investigate the firm’s activities.
Ms Denham criticised CA for being ‘uncooperative’ with her probe as she confirmed the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) would apply for a warrant to help her examine the firm’s activities.