And this isn’t the first time this has been said about Cambridge Analytics.
The CEO, Alexander Nix, claims that this company has been involved in over 40 elections worldwide in the past decade. Robert Mercer started off as a Ted Cruz donor, opening 3 separate Super PACs, and hiring Cambridge Analytica to do data analytics for them. He raised tens of millions of dollars during the primaries for Cruz with the help of Kellyanne Conway. It turns out that Mercer himself has invested $5 million into the success of Cambridge Analytica. He claims to have created “profiles” of 220 million million Americans.
Cambridge Analytica is a company run by the Mercers that engages in the following types of Facebook targeting; “These “dark posts”—sponsored Facebook posts that can only be seen by users with specific profiles—included videos aimed at African-Americans in which Hillary Clinton refers to black men as predators, for example.”
It doesn’t stop there, though. Cambridge Analytica is a subsidiary of the Strategic Communications Laboratory group, a British company known to engage in psychological warfare and disinformation campaigns.
Nigel Farage used Cambridge Analytics to win the Brexit campaign too, and he happens to be close to WikiLeaks founder and Russian agent Julian Assange.
This might explain why Jared Kushner and now NIgel Farage have both been named persons of interest in the current Special Prosecutor investigation.
More from Motherboard on Cambridge Analytics involvement in the election.
Just how precisely the American population was being targeted by Trump's digital troops at that moment was not visible, because they attacked less on mainstream TV and more with personalized messages on social media or digital TV. And while the Clinton team thought it was in the lead, based on demographic projections, Bloomberg journalist Sasha Issenberg was surprised to note on a visit to San Antonio—where Trump's digital campaign was based—that a "second headquarters" was being created. The embedded Cambridge Analytica team, apparently only a dozen people, received $100,000 from Trump in July, $250,000 in August, and $5 million in September. According to Nix, the company earned over $15 million overall.
The measures were radical: From July 2016, Trump's canvassers were provided with an app with which they could identify the political views and personality types of the inhabitants of a house. It was the same app provider used by Brexit campaigners. Trump's people only rang at the doors of houses that the app rated as receptive to his messages. The canvassers came prepared with guidelines for conversations tailored to the personality type of the resident. In turn, the canvassers fed the reactions into the app, and the new data flowed back to the dashboards of the Trump campaign.
The question is, as Clinton suggests, did Cambridge Analytics share it’s modeling data with Russia for their use in programming their facebook and twitter bots? Via Newsweek.
Paul Wood, a reporter at the BBC who’s been ahead of the pack on the Russia-Trump investigation, had some eye-catching information in a story back in March. He wrote :
“This is a three-headed operation,” said one former official, setting out the case, based on the intelligence: First, hackers steal damaging emails from senior Democrats. Secondly, the stories based on this hacked information appear on Twitter and Facebook, posted by thousands of automated “bots”, then on Russia’s English-language outlets, RT and Sputnik, then right-wing US “news” sites such as Infowars and Breitbart, then Fox and the mainstream media. Thirdly, Russia downloads the online voter rolls.
The voter rolls are said to fit into this because of “microtargeting”. Using email, Facebook and Twitter, political advertising can be tailored very precisely: individual messaging for individual voters.
“You are stealing the stuff and pushing it back into the US body politic,” said the former official, “you know where to target that stuff when you’re pushing it back.”
This would take co-operation with the Trump campaign, it is claimed.
It does present a logical question: If the Trump campaign or the RNC didn’t help the Russians with their micro-targeting disinformation bots — who did?