Cambridge Analytica CEO Sees Claims as Backlash to Trump WinBy
Cambridge Analytica, the U.K. company accused of harvesting Facebook Inc. user profiles in its work for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, denied claims it engaged in improper tactics to sway elections that included the Brexit referendum.
The allegations against the company are “entirely unfounded and extremely unfair,” said Alexander Nix, chief executive officer of the data-analysis firm.
“We see this as a coordinated attack by the media that’s been going on for very many months in order to damage the company that had some involvement with the election of Donald Trump,” Nix said in an interview with the BBC that was posted on the network’s Twitter feed.
Cambridge, originally funded by former Renaissance Technologies co-CEO and early Trump backer Robert Mercer, uses data to reach voters with hyper-targeted messaging, including on Facebook and other online services. Cambridge was hired to help with voter outreach by the Trump campaign, whose former campaign manager, Steve Bannon, had been on its board.
In a months-long sting operation, U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 News filmed Cambridge Analytica executives talking about how the firm could use prostitutes and former spies to ensnare politicians and influence elections. In one video, Nix said the company could “send some girls around to the candidate’s house.”
Nix told the BBC that Channel 4 is “going to sincerely embarrass us by presenting a mischaracterization of the facts.”
Cambridge hasn’t done any work with Russian companies, Nix said. The firm did have a couple of meetings with Lukoil PJSC, the Russian oil giant, in Turkey, but the conversations “led nowhere and no work was done,” he said.