LONDON – Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie said Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg engaged in “a spectacle of nonanswers” in testimony before U.S. and European lawmakers that would increase the chances the social network will face regulation and further harm the trust of its users.
Speaking at the Bloomberg Sooner Than You Think technology conference in Paris, Wylie expressed dismay that Zuckerberg has rebuffed invitations to appear before the U.K. Parliament committee investigating Cambridge Analytica’s misuse of Facebook user data, and the role the consulting firm may have played in Britain’s 2016 EU referendum.
“Mark Zuckerberg continues to reject the invitation from the one committee that will actually ask tough questions and won’t let him get away with ‘I’ll get back to you, I’ll get back to you, I’ll get back to you,’ ” Wylie said.
The data scientist also said there was further information yet to come out about Cambridge Analytica and its interactions with Russian companies and individuals that may have played a role in trying to manipulate elections. Wylie said he had shared this information with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. House and Senate Intelligence committees.
Cambridge Analytica had tested several themes — including key phrases and visual imagery — that U.S. President Donald Trump used successfully in his election campaign long before Trump appeared to be a serious contender, Wylie added.
Steve Bannon, the former Trump adviser who helped set up Cambridge Analytica in 2014, had the company looking at “draining the swamp,” which has become a stock Trump phrase for cleaning up the way Washington works, as well as anti-immigrant messaging as far back as 2014, Wylie said.
He also said he was certain that further regulation of Facebook and other large tech companies was now almost certain in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and that he had discussed the issue with U.S. lawmakers.