Since the news has come to light that the British data analysis firm may have used the personal data of over 50 million Facebook users to allegedly influence real-world events, Facebook has been caught in a PR nightmare - its stock has plunged to an eight-month low, multiple governments and officials have called for inquiries into the platform, and there has been a mass exodus of users following the spread of the #deletefacebook movement.
After Chris Wylie, the whistleblower in the Cambridge Analytica (CA) data breach scandal, said that Congress had hired his company, the Congress refuted any such claim. "This is what modern colonialism looks like", he said.
Wylie became a research director for Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), the parent company of CA, in 2014. Curiously, it shows them having apparently worked in Uttar Pradesh (2012, 2011, 2007), Bihar (2007), Kerala (2007), West Bengal (2007), Assam (2007), Jharkhand (2007), Madhya Pradesh (2003), Rajasthan (2003) and also, the national elections of 2009 where its "proprietary data collection methodologies" was used by "a number of Lok Sabha candidates" to form campaigning strategies.
Yesterday, while deposing in front of United Kingdom lawmakers, Wylie had said "I believe their client was Congress but I know that they have done all kinds of projects".
"They (Cambridge Analytica) worked extensively in India".
He also revealed that CA has offices and employees working in India in different places.
"I believe their client was Congress but I know that they have done all kinds of project". He wrote, "I've been getting a lot of requests from Indian journalists, so here are some of SCL's past projects in India".
The slides put out by Wylie also claim that SCL India's head office was in 155, Niti Khand 1, Indirapuram, Ghaziabad.
India's biggest national parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Indian National Congress (INC), have been blaming each other for using Cambridge Analytica.
He said that Cambridge Analytica had little concern for the law, saying "they don't care whether or not its legal as long as it gets the job done".
Cambridge Analytica reportedly used the data, taken without authorisation in early 2014, to build the software to predict and influence choices at the ballot box.
Minutes later, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala vehemently denied all such charges and accused Ravi Shankar Prasad of lying and challenged the government to register a First Information Report (FIR) against Cambridge Analytica, its Indian partner Ovleno Business Intelligence and Facebook.
Facebook announced today (March 28) that is redesigning its privacy controls to make it easier for users to access, alter, and erase the data the social network has stored about them. The documents say that the U.S. arm of the company, formed in June 2014, could participate as a vendor of technology as long as Nix, a Briton, was "recused from the substantive management of any such clients involved in United States elections".
A report in the Bucharest Herald at the time of his death said he was a 32 year-old LSE graduate, who had coordinated election campaigns in Europe, Africa and the US.
Wylie believes that it is "very reasonable" to say that CA's activities may have swung the Brexit vote, although he stressed he was not anti-Facebook, anti-social media or anti-data. Mark Zuckerberg also said last week that users would soon see a tool on the top of their News Feeds that will allow them to quickly revoke the permissions of third-party apps to their data.