A new report by The Washington Post has revealed that former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon oversaw Cambridge Analytica’s collection of Facebook data to create voter profiles.
Bannon was vice president and secretary of Cambridge Analytica until he stepped down to run the Trump campaign in August 2016, a former employee of the data science firm told The Post on Tuesday.
Chris Wylie revealed to the newspaper that the program tested various phrases, including some notable expressions from President Donald Trump’s campaign, like “drain the swamp” and “deep state” as a way to persuade voters.
Wylie also told The Washington Post that the company spent nearly $1 million for data in 2014 — which included Facebook profiles — and the expense was approved by Bannon.
“We had to get Bannon to approve everything at this point. Bannon was Alexander Nix’s boss,” Wylie said in his interview with The Washington Post, referring to the company’s CEO, who was suspended Tuesday in the wake of undercover reports showing him discussing potential bribery and entrapment. “Alexander Nix didn’t have the authority to spend that much money without approval.”
Last Friday, Facebook announced it was suspending Cambridge Analytica over concerns it had violated the social media site’s policies.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Cambridge Analytica denied that the organization is in violation of Facebook’s terms and said it is in communication with Facebook following the news it had been suspended from the platform.