Now, year-old Christopher Wylie goes on the record to discuss his role in hijacking the profiles of millions of Facebook users in order to target the US electorate. Sun 18 Mar As does his mission to rewind time.
To put the genie back in the bottle. On the phone, he was clever,
College hookup gay republicans suck facebook en, bitchy, profound, intellectually ravenous, compelling. A data science nerd. Two months later, when he arrived in London from Canada, he was all those things in the flesh. And yet the flesh was impossibly young. He may have played a pivotal role in the momentous political upheavals of At the very least, he played a consequential role.
It was Wylie who came up with that idea and oversaw its realisation.
And it was Wylie who, last spring, became my source. Wylie was one of a handful of individuals who provided the evidence behind it. I found him, via another Cambridge Analytica ex-employee, lying low in Canada: And now they want to work with the Pentagon? He ended up showing me a tranche of documents that laid out the secret workings behind Cambridge Analytica.
The Observer also received the first of three letters from Cambridge Analytica threatening to sue Guardian News and Media for defamation. Of how Facebook was hijacked, repurposed to become a theatre of war: Wylie oversaw what may have been the first critical breach. Aged 24, while studying for a PhD in fashion trend forecasting, he came up with a plan to harvest the Facebook profiles of millions of people in the US, and to use their private and personal information to create sophisticated psychological and political profiles.
And then target them with political ads designed to work on their particular psychological makeup. The official Hansard extract reads:. Christian Matheson MP for Chester: They may have lots of data, but it will not be Facebook user data. It may be data about people who are on Facebook that they have gathered themselves, but it is not data that we have provided. In our first phone call, he told me he had the receipts, invoices, emails, legal letters — records that showed how, between June and Augustthe profiles of more than 50 million Facebook users had been harvested.
Going public involves an enormous amount of risk. Wylie is breaking a non-disclosure agreement and risks being sued.
He is breaking the confidence of Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer. It has been a year, too, in which Wylie has been trying his best to rewind — to undo events that he set in motion. He is now in a position to go on the record: There are many points where this story could begin.
One is inwhen Wylie was 21 and working for the Liberal Democrats in the UK, then in government as junior coalition partners. His career trajectory has been, like most aspects of his life so far, extraordinary, preposterous, implausible.
Aleksandr Kogan was born in Moldova and lived in Moscow until the age of seven, then moved with his family to the US, where he became a naturalised citizen.
He studied at the University of California, Berkeley, and got his PhD at the University of Hong Kong before joining Cambridge as a lecturer in psychology and expert in social media psychometrics. While at Cambridge "College hookup gay republicans suck facebook en" accepted a position at St Petersburg State University, and also took Russian government grants for research. He changed his name to Spectre when he married, but later reverted to Kogan.
That earned Bannon the post of chief strategist to the president and for a while he was arguably the second most powerful man in America. By August his relationship with Trump had soured and he was out. Robert Mercer, 71, is a computer scientist and hedge fund billionaire, who used his fortune to become one of the most influential men in US politics as a top Republican donor. He left school at 16 without a single College hookup gay republicans suck facebook en. At 19, he taught himself to code, and inage 20, he came to London to study law at the London School of Economics.
I got a call from the Lib Dems. They wanted to upgrade their databases and voter targeting. So, I combined working for them with studying for my degree. Politics is also where he feels most comfortable. He hated school, but as an intern in the Canadian parliament he discovered a world where he could talk to adults and they would listen.
He was the kid who did the internet stuff and within a year he was working for the leader of the opposition. Starting inStillwell, while a student, had devised various apps for Facebook, one of which, a personality quiz called myPersonalityhad gone viral.
The research was original, groundbreaking and had obvious possibilities. And they were all over this research. That one was nicknamed Operation KitKat.