The former White House chief strategist is trying to distance himself from the Cambridge Analytica scandal
Steve Bannon, the ex-chief strategist for Trump and Breitbart executive chairman has weighed in to distance himself from the current Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
In allegations first broken by The Observer, the political research firm has been accused of harvesting data from millions of Facebook profiles to create psychographic profiles of voters in the U.S to tailor targeted ads during the election. It’s alleged the data was used to help Trump win last year’s presidential election. Bannon had been present in the making of and early days of Cambridge Analytica, though claims he had nothing to do with the scraping of illegitimate Facebook data for election race propaganda.
Speaking at a conference in New York, as the Guardian reports, Bannon rejected he had anything to do with “dirty tricks” in Facebook’s biggest ever data breach, but added that, anyway, “Facebook data is for sale all over the world.”
“It’s just a marketplace,” he said, speaking at his first public appearance since the allegations were first reported.
“I didn’t even know about the Facebook mining, that’s Facebook’s business ... They went to Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008 and told him all about the power of personal data... (Facebook) take your stuff for free and monetize it for huge margins, they take over your life.”
Bannon instead blamed any wrongdoing on Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL.
A Channel 4 investigation published an undercover video where Cambridge Analytica staff confirmed it was involved in Trump’s winning campaign. Business Insider adds that 2016 reports suggest the Trump campaign paid the company $5million for just one month of consultancy. The waves of in coming information still coming about the huge data breach seem to compromise what Bannon is saying.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has spoken out to apologise for the data breach, acknowledging that mistakes had been made.
In the first report by the Observer, whistleblower Christopher Wylie said: “We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles. And built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons. That was the basis the entire company was built on.”