Former Cambridge Analytica contractor: 'I'm not out to get Facebook'

Christopher Wylie says he is "not out to get Facebook."The former Cambridge Analytica contractor told CNN's Ha...

Posted: Mar 20, 2018 12:53 PM
Updated: Mar 20, 2018 12:53 PM

Christopher Wylie says he is "not out to get Facebook."

The former Cambridge Analytica contractor told CNN's Hala Gorani on Monday that he wants to "work together" with the company, and was frustrated when his Facebook and Instagram accounts were suspended.

"They committed to me in writing that they wanted to have an open and collaborative approach," he told Gorani. "And now they turn around, and drop this press release that says that I'm being suspended."

Wylie was a data analyst for Cambridge Analytica, the controversial data firm that worked for President Donald Trump's campaign. The company reportedly gained access to information about 50 million Facebook users -- news that has cast heavy scrutiny on the social media giant over the past few days.

Wylie was the one who shared evidence of the company's activities with The New York Times and The Observer, among others. He calls himself a whistleblower.

"It's unfortunate that Facebook, as soon as I come and speak out, they ban me from their platforms," he told Gorani.

Related: Exclusive: Scientist at center of Facebook-Cambridge Analytica controversy speaks

Later Monday, Wylie provided examples of some of the tactics Cambridge Analytica used during the Trump campaign. He told CNN's Don Lemon that while working for Cambridge Analytica, the team tested imagery of people scaling walls and ideas like the "deep state."

"I was surprised when I saw the Trump campaign, and started talking about building walls or draining the swamp. And I'm remembering in my head, 'Wait, we tested this,'" Wylie said.

Facebook suspended Cambridge Analytica from its platform Friday, saying in a blog post that it had learned in 2015 that user data was shared with a political data group in violation of Facebook's terms.

Facebook said they received certifications at the time that all copies of the data had been destroyed.

In a statement, Cambridge Analytica maintains "that all Facebook data and their derivatives" was deleted. It also says it did not use any of that data in its work for Trump's campaign.

Facebook added that it asked Wylie and fellow data scientist Aleksandr Kogan to agree to an audit. Facebook said that Kogan, a University of Cambridge psychology professor who built the tool used to gather user data, had agreed verbally. Facebook added that Wylie had yet to agree.

Wylie told Gorani that he would be "willing to have a chat" with Facebook, though he added that it's unclear what the audit would entail.

"What is it that [they] want to audit, my phone?" He asked, adding: "I'm not a company, I don't have servers."

Related: Facebook announces forensic audit of Trump data firm Cambridge Analytica

Lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean want answers from Facebook in light of the news. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced Saturday that her office is opening an investigation into both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.

Some want answers from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg directly.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote on Twitter on Saturday that "Zuckerberg needs to testify before Senate Judiciary."

In Britain, Damian Collins - who chairs the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee in the House of Commons - said his committee has questioned Facebook about its policies for giving user data to companies.

"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," he added.

Facebook stock fell 7% on Monday, its worst day in four years.

- CNN's Donie O'Sullivan and Jackie Wattles contributed to this report.

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