A Cambridge Analytica top boss has been caught on tape boasting that the organisation could spread rumours that electoral candidates are gay to discredit them, Channel 4 footage has shown.
A secret recording carried out by Channel 4 has shown the managing director of the data analysis company’s political division Mark Turnbull saying that they could use gay rumours as an election ploy to discredit candidates.
The information came to light after whistleblower and former Cambridge Analytica worker Christopher Wylie revealed that the company harvested the data of millions of Facebook profiles to influence the US elections.
A recording and transcript between the Channel 4 journalist and Turnbull sees the reporter volunteer the notion that “if the minister is homosexual” it could potentially lead to a resignation,
“These are things that, I mean, it sounds a dreadful thing to say, but these are things that don’t necessarily need to be true, as long as they’re believed,” Nix says to the reporter.
In the report, Turnbull says that the organisation analyses people’s “hopes and fears” in order to mould the political targeting.
“The two drivers are hopes and fears, and many of them are unconscious. You didn’t even realise that was a fear until you saw something,” he said.
Turnbull also indicates that the data harvesting market is far larger than Cambridge Analytica, and alleges that a series of ex-M15 workers are now working for data analysis companies that are also in incredibly influential positions.
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“I know people who used to work for M15, M16, who now work for these private organisations,” said Turnbull.
“We’re used to operating through different vehicles, in the shadows, and I look forward to continuing a long-term and secretive relationship with you.”
In the explosive investigation, Wylie said that Steve Bannon said that he “loved the gays” because “he saw us as early adopters.”
“[Rebecca Mercer] loved the gays,” whistleblower Christopher Wylie told The Guardian.
“So did Steve [Bannon]. He saw us as early adopters. He figured, if you can get the gays on board, everyone else will follow. It’s why he was so into the whole Milo [Yiannopoulos] thing.”
Since the scandal has emerged, Wylie’s Facebook has been blocked, as well as access to his Instagram account.
“We entirely refute any allegation that Cambridge Analytica or any of its affiliates use entrapment, bribes, or so-called ‘honey-traps’ for any purpose whatsoever…
“Cambridge Analytica does not use untrue material for any purpose,” said a spokesperson from the organisation to Channel 4 News.
The CEO of Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix, has been suspended since the investigation came to light.