Mark Zuckerberg will not testify to a UK parliamentary committee regarding users’ data being exploited by the Cambridge Analytica consultancy, Facebook announced on Tuesday.
Addressing the same committee on Tuesday, Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie expressed the certainty that without the consultancy’s intervention the EU membership referendum would have a very different outcome.
Wylie said the Leave campaign “cheated.”
Leaks undermining the legitimacy of the Leave campaign began last week when another whistleblower, Shamir Sanni, provided evidence of illicit funding to the tune of €711,000.
Specifically, the Leave campaign used a proxy campaign – BeLeave – to pay the Canadian data-analytics company AggregateIQ (AIQ) for online campaigning services.
Sanni’s documents seem to establish that BeLeave was run from the former offices of the Leave campaign; moreover, the two campaigns coordinated spending.
On the top of the €711,000 that BeLeave paid AIQ, the Leave campaign paid €3 million, or 40% of its total budget. The allegation here is that BeLeave was in effect a vehicle for laundering campaign funds for the leave campaign.
According to Wylie, the €4 million paid to AIQ was money well spent, as targeted online campaigning tilted the balance between winning and losing.
AIQ was in turn created by Wylie himself on behalf of SLC, that is, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, linked to the Trump campaign. Both AIQ and Cambridge Analytica drew their data from the same source, which included the Facebook pool of 50 million users.
“This is a company that has worked with hacked material, this is a company that will send out videos of people being murdered to intimidate voters, this is a company that goes out and tries to illicitly acquire live internet browsing data of everyone in an entire country,” Wylie told the parliamentary committee on Tuesday.
As for Facebook, the company continues to deny knowing that Cambridge Analytica had harvested Facebook data for the Trump campaign. Facebook will address the questions of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee. Instead of Mark Zuckerberg, the questions of the committee will be addressed either by Facebook’s Chief Technology Officer, Mike Schroepfer, or Chief Product Officer Chris Cox. The members of the committee requested to speak to Facebook’s CEO via video-link.