The New York politician has exposed the firm’s shameless disregard for the truth
It was 1am the night before we published the Cambridge Analytica files in March last year and I got an urgent message from my fellow reporter, Emma Graham-Harrison. Facebook, which that day had sent us a letter threatening legal action if we published, had issued a press release saying it had kicked Cambridge Analytica off its platform.
It was a last-gasp attempt to get ahead of a story that Facebook knew was set to break. But it was too late. We worked through the night, brought forward our publishing time, and then the story was out there.
If this seems like ancient history, it isn’t. Because last week Mark Zuckerberg appeared before the US Congress’s House financial services committee to talk about Facebook’s plans for its Libra cryptocurrency and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the congresswoman for New York’s 14th district, got five minutes to grill him.
“Mr Zuckerberg, I think you of all people can appreciate using a person’s past behaviour in order to determine, make decisions or predict people’s future behaviour, and in order for us to make decisions about Libra I think we need to kind of dig into your past behaviour and Facebook’s past behaviour with respect to our democracy. Mr Zuckerberg, what year and month did you personally become aware of Cambridge Analytica?”
Watching it on a small screen on my phone, I was on the edge of my seat. This was the question that I and a small group of super-nerds, (…)