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Cambridge Analytica Execs Caught Discussing Extortion and Fake News

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In a series of undercover videos filmed over the last year, Britain's Channel 4 News caught executives at Cambridge Analytica appear to say they could extort politicians, send women to entrap them, and help proliferate propaganda to help their clients. The sting operation was conducted as part of an ongoing investigation into Cambridge Analytica, a data consulting firm that worked for President Trump's 2016 campaign.

The video follows an investigation by The Guardian[1] and The New York Times[2], which revealed that Cambridge and its related company, SCL, harvested data on 50 million Facebook users, and may have kept it, despite promises to Facebook that they deleted the information in 2015. Cambridge and SCL have denied these accusations, and in a statement to Channel 4, the company also denied "any allegation that Cambridge Analytica or any of its affiliates use entrapment, bribes, or so-called 'honey-traps' for any purpose whatsoever."

The video evidence suggests otherwise.

In a series of five meetings and phone calls beginning in December 2017, a Channel 4 reporter posed as a fixer for a client they said was working to get candidates elected in Sri Lanka. They met with Cambridge CEO Alexander Nix; Mark Turnbull, managing director of CA Political Global; and Alex Tayler, chief data officer for Cambridge. They probed them on all manner of underhanded tactics, from deliberately spreading fake news to making up false identities. According to the video, the Cambridge executives took the bait. A spokesperson for Cambridge did not respond to WIRED's request for comment about Channel 4's report.

In one January, 2018 meeting shown in Channel 4's video, Nix appears to outline a potential plan to send operatives to bribe the candidate's political opponents and capture it on video. "They will offer a large amount

Read more from our friends at Wired.com

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