Facebook and Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: Trump election made me speak out

Christopher Wylie, the whistleblower behind the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal, said Tuesday that the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president in 2016 made him speak out about the practices being employed by the political data firm.

Wylie was appearing in front of U.K. lawmakers in London Tuesday.

It comes after explosive reports last week that a quiz app harvested 50 million Facebook profiles for data which were then sent over to Cambridge Analytica, a firm that was caught claiming it handled the digital aspects of President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign.

Wylie said that Trump’s election was one of the major reasons he blew the whistle on Cambridge Analytica’s data practices.

“I wouldn’t say it was just because of Donald Trump, but Donald Trump makes it click in your head that this actually has a much wider impact. I don’t think that military-style information operations is conducive for any democratic process,” he told the committee of lawmakers.

Cambridge Analytica was initially funded by conservative billionaire Robert Mercer and led by former Trump advisor Steve Bannon.

Wylie was the man who revealed to the New York Times and the U.K.’s Observer newspaper the practices of Cambridge Analytica and the data harvesting that took place. He is speaking to members of parliament on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee, chaired by lawmaker Damian Collins.

Separately last week, Collins summoned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to appear in front of the DCMS at another time and gave the company a deadline of March 26 to respond.

Facebook responded on the deadline day and said it would send either Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer or Chief Product Officer Chris Cox

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