On Saturday, the New York Times and the Observer of London published reports revealing that the voter analysis firm Cambridge Analytica improperly harvested private information from more than 50 million Facebook users without their permission, as it built the systems that would later guide the company’s work on the Brexit and Trump campaigns.
Central to this reporting was Christopher Wylie, who helped found Cambridge Analytica and chose to blow the whistle on his former employer by sharing documents and information.
In the days following the reports his information unleashed, the Federal Trade Commission launched a probe into whether Facebook violated user-privacy agreements. Lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic have launched investigations and called for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify. Attorneys general in New York and Massachusetts have demanded that the company hand over information about its operations. Cambridge Analytica CEO Andrew Nix was suspended by the firm’s board, and Facebook's market value dropped by nearly $50 billion.
In less than a week, two powerful and secretive companies have been forced to answer for massive data misuse that may never have become public without whistleblowers.
Rigorous journalism can hold people and institutions accountable when seemingly nothing else will — but it relies on ordinary people to come forward and share information. These stories are important, and we need your help to tell them.
Good tips contain specific, documented information, not just impressions or rumors. There are a number of ways to securely share information with BuzzFeed News, including our state-of-the-art SecureDrop, which is the best way to keep you anonymous, and that old standby, the postal mail. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us an encrypted message over Signal at (646) 379-1975. You can learn more about how to reach us here.