Cambridge Analytica today issued a series of facts about its operations in order to address and stem the flow of speculation and false accusations being made about the company.
“It has become open season for critics to say whatever they like about us based on speculation and hearsay,” said the acting CEO Alexander Tayler, “conjecture and rumor is being portrayed as fact which is damaging and unfair to the company, its employees, and its clients. It would be impossible to address the hundreds of articles and broadcast segments that have misrepresented Cambridge Analytica or replicated false statements made by those focused on creating a political scandal.” We have chosen to present 10 facts in response to recent claims. We have also launched a website, CambridgeFacts.com, which will exhaustively and scrupulously address the falsehoods around our company and its work.
1. No laws were broken. Cambridge Analytica did not “hack” Facebook. A research company (GSR) licensed the data to us, which they legally obtained via a tool provided by Facebook. Hundreds of data firms have utilized Facebook data in a similar fashion. To be clear: Cambridge Analytica did not illegally or inappropriately collect or share data with anybody else. Cambridge Analytica has not broken FEC Regulations.
2. Cambridge Analytica did not use the GSR data or any derivatives of this data in the US Presidential Election. We used data from the RNC, data from public sources such as the voter registry, data from commercial data brokers, and research we collected ourselves with a clear statement of consent.
The claims that we used GSR data for the Trump campaign are simply untrue. Cambridge Analytica did provide polling, data analytics and digital marketing for the Trump campaign.
These are the same methods by which data is used for every other campaign. We used the same kind of political preference models used by the Obama and Clinton campaigns; however we started five months out from Election Day and did it with far fewer resources and data. It’s very rare to have one vendor working across so many different campaign functions – we’re proud that we integrated polling, data science and marketing into a single operation. Having a large amount of control over each of these three areas allowed us to be extremely efficient and reactive.
3. Cambridge Analytica did not work at all on the Brexit Referendum. We subcontracted some digital marketing in the USA and some software development to an unrelated Canadian company introduced to us by Mr. Wylie called Aggregate IQ (AIQ) but did not work with them on the Trump campaign. We pitched Leave.eu, Vote.leave and Remain but did no work paid or unpaid for any of these entities. We had discussions with UKIP, but these discussions never resulted in a contract. In the end, we were not involved in the referendum in any capacity.
4. Mr Wylie is not a whistle-blower. He has repeatedly claimed to be a founder of Cambridge Analytica. In reality, he was a contractor of SCL Elections and left in mid-2014. His work for Cambridge Analytica began in August 2013 and ended in July 2014. He has no recent knowledge of our business or its practices and has admitted as much in his testimony.
When he left he set up a competing company called Eunoia Technologies apparently using our data and contacts in violation of his non-disclosure agreement with us. Eunoia also obtained a copy of the GSR data. Eunoia pitched the Trump campaign and Mr Wylie later tried to work for Vote.leave. When SCL Elections found out Mr Wylie had breached his contract we took legal action against him, two other employees and Eunoia. Mr. Wylie executed an undertaking dated 10 August 2015 to not disclose any confidential information of SCL Elections which he may possess.
5. Cambridge Analytica and SCL Elections are different companies. Cambridge Analytica is an independent U.S. entity which works with SCL Elections as an affiliate to service the North American political market. Cambridge Analytica has since grown into a data-science consultancy and marketing agency focusing on the commercial market. The vast majority of our business is commercial rather than political, contrary to the way some of the media has portrayed us. Cambridge Analytica does no work outside of North America, although the Cambridge Analytica brand is now used worldwide.
6. SCL Elections licensed 30M records on US citizens from GSR but has since deleted all the GSR data and its derivatives. Once SCL Elections was informed by Facebook itself that Facebook’s terms of service had been broken we deleted all the data and certified to Facebook that this had happened. This is currently being independently verified by an audit and we are confident it will establish that all the data was deleted when we said it was. Our contract with GSR clearly stipulates that all data conformed to US regulations and covered only US nationals. We licensed no data on non-US nationals from GSR. Regardless of whether Facebook allowed GSR to obtain data on 87m people, GSR only ever provided data on 30m people to us.
7. Cambridge Analytica only collects data with informed consent. Our research on the GSR data showed that it underperformed relative to conventional demographic targeting. It is true that our marketing materials say we can achieve more with data for our clients but that is down to the quality of our people and our analytical methods, not inappropriate access or use of data. Cambridge Analytica has since used its own surveys with the informed consent of each respondent to obtain similar data. Market research and marketing psychology is an important part of our business but is just one of the tools that we use to better serve our clients.
8. We are undertaking an independent third-party audit in order to demonstrate that we do not hold any GSR data. We will share the results of this investigation as soon as we receive them.
9. Cambridge Analytica has cooperated with the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). We have been in communication with the ICO since February 2017, when we hosted its team in our London office to provide total transparency on the data we hold, how we process it, and the legal basis for us processing it. We offered to share with the ICO all communications and documents we hold relating to GSR, and to help them search our systems for GSR data. They instead chose to pursue a search warrant even though we offered to cooperate with them.
10. Cambridge Analytica is a politically neutral company. Globally, we work across the mainstream political spectrum.