Visit our new website:

Bannon and Cambridge Analytica planned suppression of black voters, whistleblower tells Senate

  • Thu, 17 May 2018 12:38

Appearing before the Senate Judiciary committee today as part of the ongoing investigation of Cambridge Analytica and various forms of meddling in the 2016 elections, former employee and whistleblower Christopher Wylie said that the company and its then-VP Steve Bannon were pursuing voter suppression tactics aimed at black Americans.

Although Wylie insisted that he himself did not take part in these programs, he testified to their existence.

“One of the things that provoked me to leave was discussions about ‘voter disengagement’ and the idea of targeting African Americans,” he said. “I didn’t participate on any voter suppression programs, so I can’t comment on the specifics of those programs.”

“I can comment on their existence, and I can comment more generally on my understanding of what they were doing,” he explained under questioning from Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).

“If it suited the client’s objective, the firm [SCL, Cambridge Analytica’s parent company] was eager to capitalize on discontent and to stoke ethnic tensions,” read Wylie’s written testimony.

“Steve Bannon believes that politics is downstream from culture. They were seeking out companies to build an arsenal of weapons to fight a culture war,” he explained at another point in the session. He suggested questions on the nature of those weapons, and the specifics of any potential race-based voter suppression tactics, to be directed to Bannon.

That such a system might work, however, he did address.

“How specifically, then, did they target African American voters,” Sen. Harris had asked, “understanding as you do that the African American population is not a monolith? How did they then decipher and determine who was African American so they would target them in their intent to suppress the vote?”

“Racial characteristics can be modeled and I’m not sure about the studies that my colleague here was referencing but we were able to get an AUC score, which is a way of measuring accuracy for race that was .89 I believe,” Wylie answered.

AUC, he then explained, stands for “Area under the receiving operations characteristic. It’s a way of measuring precision, which [the .89 figure] means it’s very high.”

In other words, black voters could be identified based on their social media presence and other factors, despite the fact that the black community is, obviously, far from homogeneous.

It’s not particularly surprising that Bannon, who has aligned himself repeatedly with alt-right and white nationalist figures and movements, would be contemplating ways to decrease the number of people of color voting. But it is new that it was being pursued relatively openly under the Cambridge Analytica banner.

Sen. Harris and others requested any “evidence of the conduct you’ve described” Wylie may have.

Wylie also testified that Facebook, when it asked Cambridge Analytica to certify that it had deleted the data it was using in violation of the company’s rules, “did not require a notary or any sort of legal procedure. So I signed the certification and sent it back and they accepted it.”

Facebook – TechCrunch


Save big on top tech magazines.

Related Stories

Facebook adds option to report conversations in Messenger following widespread criticism
  • Sun, 20 May 2018 16:49

In reaction to criticism around the use of Messenger in some countries worldwide, particularly Myanmar, Facebook has introduced new tools that it all...

Instagram CEO confirms upcoming “time spent” Usage Insights
  • Sun, 20 May 2018 14:43

Instagram is jumping into the time well spent movement, following the unveiling of Google’s new time management controls last week. Code buried...

Remember when A7x ended black ops 2?
  • Sun, 20 May 2018 11:24

FunnyJunk Latest Videos

Zuckerberg will meet with European parliament in private next week
  • Sun, 20 May 2018 08:44

Who says privacy is dead? Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg has agreed to take European parliamentarians’ questions about how his plat...

Gander International Airport in the black
  • Sun, 20 May 2018 06:29

The Gander International Airport Authority reported its 13th consecutive year of profit, at its May 15 AGM. In 2017, the airport generated $ 9.3 mill...

Further evacuations planned as Hawaii volcano lava flow continues
  • Sun, 20 May 2018 05:25

Civil Defence officials said a fissure near the area of Lanipuna Gardens has been continuously erupting. Top Stories:

Instagram opens a San Francisco office
  • Sun, 20 May 2018 04:39

Last year, Facebook was reportedly scouting for office space in San Francisco in order to find a space suitable to house some 100 Instagram employee...

Tell me which cop ate chocs and leaked raid info, lead investigator tells Najib’s lawyer
  • Sun, 20 May 2018 03:21

Top news stories local and from around the world | MSN News Malaysia

Facebook’s accessibility ambitions
  • Sun, 20 May 2018 02:46

Facebook’s work around accessibility took center stage in 2016 when it launched something called automatic alt-text (AAT) for people using scre...

Hanson-Young stares down challenge for top spot on Senate ticket
  • Sun, 20 May 2018 00:39

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young successfully wins preselection despite a push from within the Greens for a change. ABC ...

New Mazda MX-5 RF Sport Black 2018 review
  • Sat, 19 May 2018 16:53

Image 1 of 16 Image 1 of 16 18 May, 2018 4:00pm Richard Ingram Mazda has launched another special edition MX-5, adding extra st...

Erap backs Senate resolution vs quo warranto
  • Sat, 19 May 2018 11:18

The first Philippine president to be impeached supported yesterday a Senate resolution signed by 14 senators against the Supreme Court’s ouster of t...

News Categories