The past few days, Cambridge Analytica, a British digital marketing data online firm, has been dominating the headlines after an expose proved that they manipulated Kenyan, Nigerian, US elections and Brexit.
Facebook has found it’s self in hot soup after reports emerged that Analytica has been using it’s data, which is supposed to be private, for it’s shocking endeavours.
Below is everything you need to know about Cambridge Analytica.
When was it started?
Cambridge Analytica was born from SCL Group, a company started almost 25 years ago and deals with such things as food security research, fight on narcotics and political campaigns.
Cambridge Analytica was created in 2013 originally to focus on U.S elections according to their website.
Who owns Cambridge Analytica
Billionaire Tech Savy and computer scientist Robert Mercer owns the company. He also owns its sister company SCL Group and is said to be a Republican who is well connected with British politicians and leaders of the United Kingdom Independence Party.
What does Cambridge Analytica do?
Technically, it’s a big influencer. It define its self as a company that uses data to “change audience behaviour”. According to Channel 4 who exposed them, however, the company employs other dirty tactics like blackmailing politicians or competitors forcing them to bend according to the company’s need.
Who are their clients
Politicians. The company is highly known for Donald Trump’s shocking win in November 2016 though according to Brad Parscale, who ran Trump’s digital operations in 2016, the campaign did not use Cambridge Analytica’s data, relying instead on voter data from a Republican National Committee operation.
How were they involved in the 2013 and 2017 elections in Kenya?
President Uhuru Kenyatta worked with the company during the campaigns and the company’s Managing Director Mark Turnbull was even captured in a recording saying they successfully re-branded The National Alliance and Jubilee parties. They also wrote Jubilee’s manifesto and speeches.
What are they being accused of internationally?
Cambridge Analytica is being accused of hiring British scholar Aleksandar Kogan in 2014 who built an application that mined data from over 50 million Facebook users. Kogan lied to Facebook that the data was to be used for purely academic purposes.
Over 270,000 users then downloaded the app which was used to mine data from them and their friends. Facebook claims it deleted the data upon discovering but Channel 4 claims that’s not true.
While Jubilee has downplayed Cambridge Analytica’s role in the recent election win, NASA, on the hand, wants Jubilee investigated over the allegations. NASA also wants foreign firms to stay out of Kenyan elections in the future.
Facebook, which has seen it’s value drop by almost $50 billion since the drama started just days ago, has suspended Cambridge Analytica,its parent SCL, Kogan and is working with hired forensic auditors from the firm Stroz Friedberg to help with the investigation.