Cambridge Analytica, a data firm linked to “Russia collusion” conspiracy theories involving the Brexit movement and President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, did not, in fact, collude with Russia or misuse Facebook data.
Democrats in the U.S. — and “Remain” holdouts in the United Kingdom — had claimed the firm abused users’ private Facebook data, and aided Russia. But a three-year investigation in the UK that concluded this week found otherwise.
As the Guardian (UK) reported:
The data watchdog has closed its investigation into Cambridge Analytica, concluding that the controversial data company did not directly misuse data to influence the Brexit referendum.
Elizabeth Denham, the information commissioner, said her team also found no evidence Cambridge Analytica aided Russian intervention in the UK political process. However, she warned that the company’s data protection practices were lax “with little thought for effective security measures” and its activities raised broader concerns about the influence of technology in politics.
Cambridge Analytica had repeatedly claimed in its marketing material to have “5,000+ data points per individual on 230 million adult Americans”, suggesting it had incredible power to micro-target individuals with suggestive political messaging using a giant psychographic database.
However, the investigation concluded that “based on what we found it appears that this may have been an exaggeration” and much of the company’s activities followed “well recognised processes using commonly available technology”.
The company no longer exists, after public and political pressure due to the allegations led to its closure in 2018.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.