What happens when social media, data mining and political consultants converge in the unruliest possible way? The saga of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, and how both were embroiled in the chaos surrounding the 2016 Presidential election, took another turn on Friday with the release of an email that Facebook had long sought to keep secret.
The email, sent by an unnamed Facebook employee, revealed that Facebook was aware of Cambridge Analytica’s behavior—actions that the employee who sent the memo flagged as “sketchy (to say the least).”
The existence of this email has not been a secret, but knowledge of its specific contents have been confined to Facebook—until now. Its release comes in the midst of a legal battle between Facebook and the District of Columbia. Gizmodo has the details:
The attorney general for the District of Columbia, Karl A. Racine, is currently suing Facebook, arguing that its privacy policies during the 2016 election were in direct violation of the District’s Consumer Protection Procedure’s Act. The office has said in court that nearly half of all D.C. residents were swept up in the Cambridge Analytica incident.
With the 2020 election on the horizon, it’s a powerful reminder of the controversies that surrounded the last one, and a potential warning of what might be in store next year.
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