Cambridge Analytica, which is now up and running once again under the name Emerdata, manipulated Facebook to spread racism and paranoia to sway the 2016 election in favor of Donald Trump. Christopher Wylie, the former employee and whistle-blower for the company appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee and had this to say:
Cambridge Analytica sought to identify mental and emotional characteristics in certain subsets of the American population and worked to exploit them by designing them to activate some of the worst vulnerabilities in people, such as neuroticism, paranoia and racial biases.
In conjunction with, Lukoil, a Russian oil company, and a researcher at the University of Cambridge, Aleksandr Kogan, a personality test was created that when users agreed to take it, would gather all their personal information. Wiley had this to say about the use of that information:
What I can say is that the lead researcher, Dr. Kogan, was at the time, working on projects that were related to psychological profiling in Russia. I can’t say for sure that this (Facebook user) data ended up in Russia.
Wylie then went on to explain that Cambridge Analytica had senior staffers with connections to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The staffers had once been aids to British lawyer John Jones, who in turn represented Assange the man responsible for releasing classified documents regarding the DNC and Hillary Clinton.
The hearing comes on the tail of Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance before congress to testify how Facebook plans to fix the misuse of personal data. Since the time of Zuckerberg’s testimony, Facebook has suspended over 200 apps suspected of misusing personal data.