The former Cambridge Analytica chief Alexander Nix has admitted that his firm received data from the researcher from Facebook, contradicting previous testimony to lawmakers.
Cambridge Analytica, a British firm which was hired by Donald Trump in 2016, allegedly improperly harvested data from around 87 million Facebook users.
Nix, in earlier testimony to US parliament’s media committee, also denied the political consultancy had ever been given data by Aleksandr Kogan, the researcher linked to the scandal. But later on, Wednesday Nix said it had received data from Kogan.
“Of course, the answer to this question should have been ‘yes,’” Nix said, adding that he thought he was being asked if Cambridge Analytica still held data from the researcher.
Earlier Nix denied of any such information misleading British lawmakers and said the company had deleted the data.
The committee is actively investigating fake news, and focusing on the role of Cambridge Analytica and Facebook in the 2016 Brexit vote as well as the Trump election.
“In lengthy, and often testy, questioning by lawmakers, Nix apologized for an undercover film in which he said Cambridge Analytica’s online campaign played a decisive role in Trump’s election win,” Reuters reported.
Lawmakers then asked Nix to clear the inconsistencies in his evidence. Kogan had told lawmakers he did give Cambridge Analytica the data.
According to Facebook, Kogan created an app on the platform that was downloaded by 270,000 people, providing access not only to their own but also their friends’ personal data.
Facebook said Kogan then violated its policies by passing the data to Cambridge Analytica.
“Cambridge Analytica had not been involved in the Brexit campaign by a report by the Electoral Commission, and that whistleblower Christopher Wylie had lied about the consultancy’s involvement in Brexit,” added Nix.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted that “mistakes" were made over the Cambridge Analytica scandal and a "breach of trust" had occurred between it and its users.