Breitbart News Senior Technology Correspondent Allum Bokhari joined Breitbart News Deputy Political Editor Amanda House on SiriusXM Patriot’s Breitbart News Daily, Tuesday, to discuss the Cambridge Analytica controversy.
“It’s an exceptionally complicated story because there are three versions of the events at the moment. There’s Facebook’s version of events, Cambridge Analytica’s version of events, then there’s the media’s version of events,” declared Bokhari. “Facebook says that in 2014 a researcher at the University of Cambridge, Alexander Kogan, was allowed to access data on Facebook’s users as part of an academic project, which is totally above board and in line with Facebook’s terms of service. Facebook said that he then gave that data on around 200,000 Facebook users to Cambridge Analytica, which wasn’t authorized, and that they then told Cambridge Analytica to delete that data.”
“Now the allegation that Facebook is investigating, it hasn’t been confirmed yet, is that Cambridge Analytica failed to delete that data after telling Facebook they had done so, and they used it in the 2016 [Donald Trump presidential] campaign,” he continued. “Facebook hasn’t confirmed this yet, they suspended Cambridge Analytica from their platform, but they’re investigating.”
House then pointed out, “Their chief security officer also has sort of stepped down from his job, it’s not clear if he’s leaving yet, but it seems like they know something went wrong.” “Yeah, well the reason for him stepping down is not that clear yet. There’s a lot of division within Facebook over the past year over their role in electing Donald Trump, because Facebook’s a very left-wing company, so some of their executives, some of their employees really don’t like the fact that they played a role in his election,” Bokhari explained. “But let’s get back to the events. So Cambridge Analytica denies the allegations that they used this data, they said they did delete it. They said they actually used no Facebook data during the 2016 campaign. On the other hand, the media has this whistleblower who used to work at Cambridge Analytica called Christopher Wiley, and he worked there until 2014. And according to the media’s accounts, which is probably the worst version of events, Cambridge Analytica not only failed to delete the data but they actually got data on 16 million Facebook users, and they’re saying this constitutes a data breach, or a data leak on the part of Facebook, something which Facebook denies.”
“They say it’s not a data breach, it’s not a data leak, the data came legitimately via an academic, it was simply passed on to a third party. So there are lots of competing accounts of what actually happened. I don’t think many of the players in this controversy are being very honest,” he proclaimed. “The media is kicking up this huge frenzy over the alleged use of Facebook data, the alleged mass-targeting of users with political ads. One of the headlines on the Guardian right now is ‘The Dark Art of Political Advertising Online,’ now there was no such frenzy when Obama used Facebook to harvest masses of data from users to the point where they actually changed their platform, changed their policies to make sure it couldn’t happen again, but they still let him keep the data. There was no kind of panic about that and actually, here’s another headline from the Guardian in 2012, ‘Obama, Facebook, and the Power of Friendship: The 2012 Data Election,’ so that’s how they were covering it in 2012 when Obama was harvesting masses of data, whereas when there’s an allegation that Cambridge Analytica might have done so and used it to help Trump, they’re picking up this huge firestorm. So there’s definitely some double standards going on.”
Bokhari then added, “The other thing to remember, is even if the allegations are true, all Cambridge Analytica did was violate a technicality of Facebook’s rules. That’s the worst they could’ve done here, because the data was originally obtained legitimately according to Facebook, and Facebook has many many tools for people to use data to target specific demographics, to microtarget ads, and the Trump campaign’s been open about using those tools. So I’m not sure why you’d even need to obtain data illegitimately from Facebook, because Facebook gives it to third parties, gives it to commercial entities… on a regular basis.”
“And like you just said, it was celebrated when Obama was able to do this, and the double standard that you mentioned is in my mind very clear here,” responded House. “How much in your opinion do you think this is just people on the left upset at Facebook for, in their eyes, helping Trump win, which you and I know is crazy and I’m sure listeners know is crazy. I’m sure Donald Trump won for many other reasons other than Facebook. But how much of this is Facebook just trying to explain away their role in helping Trump win.”
Bokhari answered, “I think that’s been the entire narrative on Facebook for the past year. All of the stuff about Russian ads, fake news, misinformation… The reason that’s become a thing in the media and in politics is because people are mad that Donald Trump was a better digital campaigner than his opponents were.”
“So the left can’t decide whether Donald Trump is a complete idiot, or if he’s like this genius. He can’t be both, right?” House asked.
“Right, right,” agreed Bokhari. “And the other thing is they think the average American voters are idiots because they’re saying that there’s been all this misinformation, this micro-targeting, this manipulation on social media essentially duped people into voting for Donald Trump. They can’t countenance the idea that maybe the elites were just out of ideas, out of legitimacy, and the voters just simply rejected them, and they made that decision on their own. They weren’t manipulated into doing so.”
You can listen to the full radio segment below: