Cambridge Analytica is a company that is partly owned by the family of Robert Mercer (his daughters, Rebekah and Jennifer, are on the board of directors) and is based in Britain. It is a political consulting firm that combines data brokerage, data mining, and data analysis, with communication tactics designed to manipulate the general public, for government elections. (Mr. Mercer has invested ten million dollars in Breitbart, a pro-Trump news outlet, and donated nearly $200,000 to Trump’s legal defense fund on the day Trump fired FBI Director, James Comey.)
Cambridge Analytica, a British Company, worked for 44 U.S. political races during 2014.Then, in 2015, they worked for the Ted Cruz presidential campaign. Then, in 2016, they shifted gears to support Donald Trump in his presidential campaign.
More recently, the New York Times and The Observer have reported Cambridge Analytica acquired personal information from Facebook about its users, which the company used for political purposes. Facebook was deceived about the data they were sharing, by an external researcher (Aleksander Kogan) who claimed to be collecting it for academic purposes.
Even more recently, Channel 4 News (of the United Kingdom) shared undercover investigative videos of Cambridge Analytica’s CEO boasting of using prostitutes, honey traps, bribery, and sting operations, to embarrass “enemy” politicians. The CEO added the company “ran all of (Donald Trump’s) digital campaign.” After the news aired, the Information Commissioner of the UK immediately sought a warrant for searching the company’s servers. This was followed by Facebook banning Cambridge Analytica from any further advertising on its platform. On March 23, 2018, the Information Commissioner’s Office warrant was approved.
John Bolton, Trump’s choice for a new National Security Adviser, worked with Cambridge Analytica in an experiment targeting YouTube videos designed for the different “psychographic” profiles of American voters. The project was designed to explore the ways different types of political ads would effect voters broken up into different kinds of personality types. Details of the project were obtained by the Guardian. Their report offers insight into an earlier report published by the New York Times. It identified John Bolton as an early recipient of Cambridge Analytica’s deceitfully obtained Facebook data.
While it may appear John Bolten was picked by Trump for his views, it should be noted Bolten is a part of the Mercer circle. Robert Mercer, a major investor in Cambridge Analytica, was also the largest donor ($5 million) to John Bolton’s Super PAC.