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Cambridge Analytica: Damian Collins MP responds

18 March 2018

In response to the fact that Cambridge Analytica has been suspended from Facebook, and further evidence revealed by The Guardian and the Observer this weekend, the Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee has issued a statement.

Chair's comment

Damian Collins MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

"Alexander Nix denied to the Committee last month that his company had received any data from the Global Science Research company (GSR). From the evidence that has been published by The Guardian and The Observer this weekend, it seems clear that he has deliberately mislead the Committee and Parliament by giving false statements. We will be contacting Alexander Nix next week asking him to explain his comments, and answer further questions relating to the links between GSR and Cambridge Analytica, and its associate companies.

We have repeatedly asked Facebook about how companies acquire and hold on to user data from their site, and in particular whether data had been taken from people without their consent. Their answers have consistently understated this risk, and have also been misleading to the Committee.
 
Data has been taken from Facebook users without their consent, and was then processed by a third party and used to support their campaigns. Facebook knew about this, and the involvement of Cambridge Analytica with it, and deliberately avoided answering straight questions from the Committee about it. They have also failed to supply the Committee with evidence relating to the relationship between Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, that we were promised at our evidence hearing on 8th February in Washington D.C.

I will be writing to Mark Zuckerberg asking that either he, or another senior executive from the company, appear to give evidence in front of the Committee as part our inquiry. It is not acceptable that they have previously sent witnesses who seek to avoid asking difficult questions by claiming not to know the answers. This also creates a false reassurance that Facebook's stated policies are always robust and effectively policed.

We need to hear from people who can speak about Facebook from a position of authority that requires them to know the truth. The reputation of this company is being damaged by stealth, because of their constant failure to respond with clarity and authority to the questions of genuine public interest that are being directed to them. Someone has to take responsibility for this. It's time for Mark Zuckerberg to stop hiding behind his Facebook page."

Evidence so far and future sessions

Alexander Nix, CEO of Cambridge Analytica, gave evidence to the Committee as part of their inquiry into Fake News on Tuesday 27th February 2018. Read the transcript of  the session (PDF 301KB).

Christopher Wylie has been invited to give evidence to the Committee in coming weeks.

Further information

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