Tech hath no fury like a multi-billion dollar social media giant scorned.
In the latest turn of the developing scandal around how Facebook’s user data wound up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica — for use in the in development in psychographic profiles that may or may not have played a part in the election victory of Donald Trump — the company has taken the unusual step of suspending the account of the whistleblower who helped expose the issues.
In a fantastic profile in The Guardian, Wylie revealed himself to be the architect of the technology that Cambridge Analytica used to develop targeted advertising strategies that arguably helped sway the U.S. presidential election.
A self-described gay, Canadian vegan, Wylie eventually became — as he told The Guardian — the developer of “Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare mindfuck tool.”
The goal, as The Guardian reported, was to combine social media’s reach with big data analytical tools to create psychographic profiles that could then be manipulated in what Bannon and Cambridge Analytica investor Robert Mercer allegedly referred to as a military-style psychological operations campaign — targeting U.S. voters.
In a series of Tweets late Saturday, Wylie’s former employer, Cambridge Analytica, took issue with Wylie’s characterization of events (and much of the reporting around the stories from The Times and The Guardian).
Meanwhile, Cadwalldr noted on Twitter earlier today she’d received a phone call from the aggrieved whistleblower.
Facebook has since weighed in with a statement of its own, telling media outlets:
“Mr. Wylie has refused to cooperate with us until we lift the suspension on his account. Given he said he ‘exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles,’ we cannot do this at this time.
“We are in the process of conducting a comprehensive internal and external review as we work to determine the accuracy of the claims that the Facebook data in question still exists. That is where our focus lies as we remain committed to vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people’s information.”