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.
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