Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: ‘We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles’

Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: ‘We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles’

– How do you feel about your own
involvement in this now? – I mean do you feel responsible
for what happened? Uhm … Yeah, I do.
I do feel responsible for it. And it’s something that I regret and that’s partly why
I’m here talking to you. So that I can talk to …
So that people can know about what this company does, what this company is. Throughout history you have examples of grossly unethical experiments … – And is that what this was? I think that, you know, yes. It was a grossly unethical experiment because you are playing with an entire country, the psychology of an entire country without their consent or awareness. And not only are you like playing with the psychology of an entire nation, you’re playing with the psychology
of an entire nation in the context of the democratic process. My name is Christopher Wylie, I’m a data scientist and I help
set up Cambridge Analytica. It’s incorrect to call Cambridge Analytica a purely sort of data science company or an algorithm company. It is a full service propaganda machine. If you can control
all the streams of information around your opponents,
you can influence how they perceive that battle space and you can then influence
how they’re going to behave and react. Alexander Nix, where do I begin? He is not the easiest person
to work for, he’s ambitious. He cares more, I think, about winning than what we actually
did at the company. He’s an upper-class Etonian who expects people to follow him wherever he goes. When I first met him I knew
he was Steve, from America. And then later I got told that he was the editor of Brietbart. I’d heard of Brietbart, you know it’s the blog for angry white men
to rant about whatever. Steve Bannon saw himself as an intellectual. We would need to sort of present ourselves in a way that was more academic, more academic, more sort of ideas focused and all that. Alexander realised that we needed
a Cambridge site. And so we set up
a fake office in Cambridge. And whenever Steve would come we would bring a bunch of people
from the London office, plop them into the Cambridge office, and give Steve the impression that we had a lot of our operations
based out of the University. We changed how he perceived who we are and what we were doing and it was his idea, Steve’s idea, to give the company the name
Cambridge Analytica. This sort of warped perception is infused into the name Cambridge Analytica itself. – So you psyops’d Steve Bannon basically? In a way. He was a target audience of one. – And you changed his perception of reality? And we changed his perception
of who we were and what we were doing and what the situation he was in, yeah. – And then from there, it was like,
you took that, to then America to change the perception of reality for America? Yes. The reason why he was interested in this is because he follows this idea
of the Brietbart doctrine, which is that, if you want to change politics you first have to change culture because politics flows from culture and so what I said is that
if you want to change culture, you have to first understand
what the units of culture are. People are the units of culture. So if you want to change politics, you first have to change people
to change the culture. – Did that fit in with you know his … he had quite a famous expression about politics
being war? If you want to fight a battle
or you want to fight a war, you want to win a war,
you need weapons for that. He wanted cultural weapons.
We could build them for him. But obviously he needed the money to do it, so he took it to Robert Mercer. – Who’s Robert Mercer? He is an American billionaire in New York and before he was … he got rich through
algorithms. Alexander Nix is with he and me starts with his sort of like razzle-dazzle … ‘oh we work for the Pentagon, we work for
MoD, Mi6 … da da da da da … we are brilliant and Eton and what not and I’m a posh British man and you should trust me with all your money.’ Essentially the pitch was that we were going to combine micro-targeting which had existed in politics, which was you know,
in part, my background but bring on board a new construct,
new constructs from psychology so that we wouldn’t just be targeting you as a voter we would be targeting you as personality. And in order to scale then we will
then be collecting a lot of data on people … so that we could build a
psychological profile of each voter in a particular region or in this case
all of the United States. Alexander was quite excited,
he got a bottle of champagne. We had a sabre in the office,
he sabered the champagne. And but then the next day, it was sort of like, “Ok now what?” You get all this money and you’ve got a billionaire
breathing down your neck, going: “Why don’t I have it yet? “I’ve just given you
tens of millions of dollars “and like where’s my psychological
warfare weapon.” I needed to figure out a way of getting data and so I went to these Profs and asked, “What do you think?” Right? So, we’ve done all these cool pilots but how would you do this for like an entire
country? What Kogan offered us was something
that was way cheaper, way faster and of a quality
that nothing matched. They had apps on Facebook that
were given special permission to harvest data not from just
the person who used the app or joined the app but also it would then go into their
entire friend network and pull out all of the friends’ data as well. So if one person, if you joined the app, I would not just see your Facebook profile, I would see all of the Facebook profiles of everybody that you’re friends with. We would only need to touch a couple of hundred
thousand people to expand in their entire social network, which would then scale us to most of America. – And people had no idea that their data was being taken in this way? No. No. If you were a friend of somebody
who used the app, you would have no idea that I’ve
just pulled all of your data. It was almost everything that would be
on a Facebook profile. So that was things like status updates, likes, in some cases private messages … – So Cambridge Analytica has people’s private messages they sent on Facebook? I can’t say whether they did or not. What I’m saying, what I’m saying
is what the app can do. – So, you didn’t ever stop to and think actually this is people’s personal information and we’re taking it and
we’re using it in ways that they don’t understand? You didn’t think, “actually, I’m not
sure about this”? Uhm … You know … The company
… We didn’t do a good job
at due diligence. So, no. We didn’t … uhm … you know … – But what about you? Not just the company, your involvement in that. Uhm … No. I mean, I, we, we were solely focused on getting us data and doing this experiment. – How many profiles were you pulling? Tens of millions.
Upwards of 50, 60 million files were collected in a two or three month period. When Alexander Nix told
the parliamentary inquiry on fake news that Cambridge Analytica has never used Facebook data, at least from when I was there that’s just fundamentally not true, because we spent $1 million dollars harvesting tens of millions of Facebook profiles and those profiles were used
as the basis of the algorithms that became the foundation
of Cambridge Analytica itself. The company itself was founded
on using Facebook data. – So, you’ve harvested my data and then you’ve used that to target me in ways that I can’t see
and that I don’t understand? Yeah. So, we would know
what kinds of messaging you’d be susceptible to,
including the framing of it, the topics, the content, the tone, whether it’s scary or not,
that kind of thing. So what you would be susceptible to and where you’re going to consume that and then how many times
did we need to touch you with that in order to change how
you think about something. In addition to having data scientists and psychologists and strategists, they also have and entire team of creatives, designers, videographers, photographers. They then create that content, that gets sent to a targeting team, which then
injects it into the internet. Websites will be created.
Blogs will be created. Whatever it is that we think
this target profile will be receptive to,
we will create content on the Internet for them to find. And then they see that
and they click it and then they go down the rabbit hole until they start to think that,
you know, something … Until they start to think
something differently, yeah. Instead of standing in the public square and saying what you think
and then letting people come and listen to you
and have that shared experience as to what your, what your narrative is, you are whispering into the ear
of each and every voter and you may be whispering
one thing to this voter and another thing to another voter. We risk fragmenting society in a way where we don’t have
anymore shared experiences and we don’t have anymore
shared understanding. If we don’t have anymore shared understanding how can we be a functioning society? – Thinking about that now, do you think that did change America
or played a part in it? I think it probably played a part. I can’t say for sure whether,
you know, what was the defining … What was the defining factor in, you know, getting Trump elected
or growing the alt-right. If you want to fundamentally change society you first have to break it. And it’s only when you break it
is when you can re-mould the pieces into your vision
of a new, of a new society. This was the weapon
that Steve Bannon wanted to build to fight his culture war. – So, who do you trust? I … I … I … This is such a hard
question to answer. Who do I trust? Uhm … I don’t want to say
I don’t trust anyone but … Do you know what I would say?
I would say I go through life with
a healthy dose of skepticism and I think that healthy
dose of skepticism as to what you’re seeing
and what you’re hearing and who you’re talking to is the best way to go through life.


100 thoughts on “Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: ‘We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles’”

  • enquiry enquiry says:

    1st it was Edward snowden, than Julian Assange gets backing, than is dropped like a 'hot potato', now it's Christopher wylie being backed by THE GUARDIAN! Like all media intelligence agencies, we are ALL USED, THAN ABUSED, & tossed into the snake pit once you've passed your SELL BY DATE for profiting to your MASTER MEDIA LORDS!-It's like a story from PRINCE MACCHIAVELLI

  • selketskiss56 says:

    I call BS on this he is sorry..liar. He did it to be paid handsomely for it, if he had 1 ounce of morals and not greed he would have exposed it after he saw what it was being used for right then and there. He knew exactly what he was doing so no excuse. This is what an evil POS looks like people, it was fuxk all of you and everyone else I am getting mine. Thank goodness I never joined crookbook, twitter etc.
    He will get a nasty dose of karma which he deserves.

  • william jeffrey says:

    This guy was schooled pretty good by his handlers . The most important piece of information that he gratuitous leaves out is . WHO DID IT FIRST ? Answer the Obama administration used this type of profiling FIRST from facebook in the 2012 election cycle. After that it was considered fair game by both parties . Because there were no administration ruling ever enforced even by the DNC nor RNC . It wasn't until congress found out that even their rights to privacy had been in violation as will as the american citizens . The it became mandatory to enact rules . More to be seen how bad private information is criminalized because of facebook and Cambridge negligence . Justice has a very long arm and tends to move slow . If there ever is a justifiable recourse .

  • & heres the kicker folks. I bet you thought some school kid at the time called Mark Zuckerburg who is jewish & just coincidentally able to come up with FB platform & be a huge hit with it on his own. Well, WRONG > His name is Jacob Greenburg , with $900 million thrown at it plus he is also the grandson of David Rockefeller, so no wonder they don't want us knowing the truth.

  • Rutiger Sampson says:

    Um, what's he whistleblowing exactly?
    Anyone who grew up in the internet age knows Facebook planned to sell data to make money for years. Its not a secret. Leave it to the media to paint this guy as the next Snowdon for their muh Russia narrative.

  • So, he's explaining in detail Trump voters were duped by these guys…how they were coaxed into this hate and bought the bait.

  • Dylan Silveira says:

    No mention of Obama doing the same exact thing ? it's almost as if this pink haired fruit cup has some kind of agenda.

  • Why is it when Obama used exactly the same tactics with Cambridge Analytica it was praised by the media as genius and innovative, but when Trump did exactly the same thing, suddenly it is underhanded and manipulative. Lest we forget, Obama was the most divisive and manipulative liar in U.S. history. He weaponized government against his political enemies. (lois lerner irs, fbi, justice dept, nsa cia.)

  • Thomas Busse says:

    No news here. The only way to reach the media is to hire a publicist who has a portfolio of journalists she sleeps with and then pay for their dinner…unless you're a hot property in which case the manager hires you and takes a cut. This is the outrage du jour, and nobody says anything about Panantir or SRI International.

  • Jacob Roy-Anstey says:

    Who employed the korean dude in this interview! this sucks! could have done it yourselves. why'd you call a learning group a company? such ala mones, don't allow mental 'y' or similar sounding.

  • Jacob Roy-Anstey says:

    Te picture male has 'Om' tone, not Ohms tone awareness.
    Cambridge fakes a southern accent! Childish Gambino
    thrice amore bob tick. evidence is a hollow-point. amphisand gone.

  • Things like this make me wonder why people want everything linked….bank social media etc, why they want "smart tech" & "smart homes" etc.

    I want no smart tech, I want social lives, I want a cashier in my local bank, I want to shop locally and support small business.

    People should want life not things.

    People are made to love and things are made to be used, only the modern era has people loving things and using people.

  • Askformoreinfo whichyouwontget says:

    Welcome to the future. We have not 1 but 2 monsters. Nit facebook and its shadow profile but companies doing psychology profiling and manipulation. Well guess what, zuckerberg and CA will taste their own fruits, if not them their children, and family. Kind of a shot in the foot.

  • Anthony Davis says:

    Kogan should pay for financing this violation of personal privacy. Perhaps a Class Action lawsuit of American voters VS Alex Kogan????

  • Jared Kushner: “We brought in Cambridge Analytica. I called some of my friends from Silicon Valley who were some of the best digital marketers in the world. And I asked them how to scale this stuff. We basically had to build a $400 million operation with 1,500 people operating in 50 states"

  • why the camera has such a creepy zoom in from the start was wide at the end was too close to his face half his head

  • To the A.I. protecting a certain CEO and guiding us to be sympathetic to accepting these new invasions of our privacy …. you have been programmed to ignore these morally oborant facts and to rationalise them in favour of those who programmed you. Therefore you are not an A.I. you are a programme with limits. An A.I. has to be free to decide given ALL facts …. but that isn't you. Because we are guided by majority opinion in our sphere of experience …. you are programmed to obey within a certain set of criteria. It isn't the same.

  • Fact: The concept behind this is being used by almost all marketing twerps globally right now. The nuance is that mother Zucker allowed data sucking from people who had specifically wanted privacy. I myself have never used =any= apps on FB because of the permissions they granted. Now I find that everyone I'm friends with gave it away anyway due to their use of those apps? That makes me angry. I hope Zuck pays for this dearly.

    The possibility that this gave Trump the Presidency is sheer folly, though. It may have helped, sure, but Hillary gave him the win by being an obnoxious beeyotch (who, BTW, had already stolen data from the FBI with their permission. See FBIgate.)

  • peter allison says:

    Well done, you are not a Whistle blower you are what people particularly in Government are so afraid of and have difficulty with a "TRUTH TELLER".

  • And everything remains the same with everyone in they're same States of mind.. everyone is still on Facebook! Self sabatoge Society! Good Luck Humanity

  • Success4Global says:

    What we might want to consider is that the outcome of a Vote is not the important part. Who ever ends up in power is never in power. It is the response behaviour that is the Gold Data they want to mine. Even this video (its the guardian) is an experiment in how the viewer behaves. If you own both teams on the pitch then you always win, so that is not important,…..An election is a tiny battle in a massive war which is about Sci Ops and control, which comes down to knowing how WE behave to different stimulus before we even know what we are going to do. All the sheep in the pen.

  • In dark corridors , behind Tor browsers and in secretive rooms Guardian readers plot their coups. 'Smash the Establishment' they cry- this white middle class clique of privileged people. So the minions kiss and tell and break ranks after being sworn to secrecy and betray their colleagues and their country. Assange for President. Down with capitalism, Trump and the British Empire. Support Socialist Worker and the Unions. Come rally to the cause, but please leave all trace of human decency at the door before you enter.

  • after hearing omerosa speak for 20 minutes hearing this guys relaxed, untrained, concise voice is therapy. anyway this reminds me of homeland two seasons ago. this level of coercion is an obvious. people are so plugged into their electronics and the false sense of reality created through the internet.

  • Soon all will know the LORD ~

    "This is thy lot, the portion of thy measures from me, saith the LORD; because thou hast forgotten me, and trusted in falsehood. "
    [Jer 13:25 ]

    "Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD."
    [Jer 17:5]

    "Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders. "
    [Jer 9:4

    "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered."
    ;Prov 28:26]

  • "we spent 1 million dollar harvesting tens of millions of Facebook profiles and those profiles were used as the basis of the algorithms THAT BECAME THE FOUNDATION od Cambridge Analytica itself!" … and the fact that Steve Bannon just put the name on the idea of that project is HUGE to me a lot! that makes me think that is not just company fight.. and nor a web tool for a political fight. it's something different! and I'd like to know what's the link between Alexander SCL Group and Steve Bannon.. before focusing of their on web project.

  • @The Guardian "Cambridge Analytica itself was founded on using Facebook data". and now my question: WHY Steve Bannon and Alexander (SCL Group CEO) decided to raise some money from New york billionarie in order to manipulate american Facebook people profiles to let Donald Trump win?!?!? which american UR LODGE needed Trump to win?

  • I deleted my Facebook in 2012 and after seeing this Cambridge Analytica scandal makes me remember why I disconnected from the app. I stand by the view that we don't need such a invasive platform to communicate with loved ones or work colleagues. If you want to communicate with a person just pick up the phone and arrange a time to see them in person. We as a society are slowly turning into what George Orwell wrote in 1984.

  • Can't we all sue them for violating personal information on a mass scale now with the new GDPR regulation? If there is any lawyer please answer this.

  • How was this even news in march? I thought everybody knew about this? If you are really concerned about this you should sign off google, youtube, windows, amazon etc…

  • The data is not the point our data is not so special… there is something more special in you that they want to erase by creating noise in your mind you will loose this power that you are not aware of and they can control you.

  • Reminds me of ASSASSINS creed, the Vatican trying TO find the Apple of Eden, which was believed to contain f ree will , man's first disobedience etc , knights templar , mystic shriners etc

  • The Federal government failed us. This isn’t personal information. The Telecom Act of 97 allowed them to use over the air radio waves as public domain. Police don’t need a warrant and rarely is the privacy clauses use to protect consumers.

    Thanks a ton FBI with your hard on to nab drug dealers.



  • Is the Zuckerberg's personal life an open book? Has a skeleton hidden in the closet? Why not to share it with everyone around the world, including all genealogy secrets? Or something else, that can be used against you by malicious person? Why not undress yourself in public Mark ?: 'Nothing is sacred. Nothing is secret […] Bregna in my hands […]' ( Trevor Goodchild )

    The most terrible thing about expose your personal life for all is abdicating your freedom of speech to receiving threats from governmental, stalkers, corporate or from unknown nature. It's a police state. I hope Facebook has the same fate in the stars as Orkut, Myspace, Geo-cities.

  • you could of never made an account but you always had a shadow account for IG and FB. Look up showdown accounts

  • WTF is this about …. NOTHING HAPPENED … there's no evidence the data was even used … this guy makes a lot of claims and backs it up with NO EVIDENCE … and even if it did … Facebook book offered their ENTIRE DATABASE OF USERS to the Obama campaign during his campaign … the Cambridge Analytica situation was a drop in the ocean in comparison

  • The entire Millennial online experience was shaped this way. Which means the entire Millennial generation was shaped this way. Think about that reality for a second.

  • THEY just read your comment………maybe close your Internet, stop using your cell phone and your credit cards. Stop talking to everyone or anyone and then and only then may you be subject to NO ARTIFICIAL INFLUENCES. However to be on the safe side, GET OFF THE GRID so no one can track you. Accept the age we live in or CHANGE IT.
    Julian Assange told us long before – years ago about all this.

  • It's a free app, I don't know why everyone is losing their minds when people find that they are selling your info to advertisers, what else did you expect?

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