A senior Facebook executive has claimed that the Cambridge Analytica scandal was a 'non-event', admits the Russians did manipulate the U.S. election and essentially branded criticism of the company as fake news.
Andrew Bosworth, who is a longtime Facebook employee and confidant of Mark Zuckerberg, made the comments in a lengthy memo shared internally within the company.
In the post, which was published on December 30, Bosworth also warned Facebook employees to not use the social network to try and prevent Donald Trump from being re-elected.
Bosworth's 2,500 word memo was initially leaked to the New York Times on Tuesday before the top executive published it in full on his public Facebook account.
It provides a glimpse into the exec's mindset on the issues Facebook has or continues to face, including the social network's influence on U.S. politics and the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Andrew Bosworth, who is a longtime senior Facebook executive and confidant of Mark Zuckerberg, made the comments in a lengthy memo shared internally within the company on December 30
The Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal erupted back in March 2018 when it emerged the company had misused data from millions of Facebook accounts.
'In practical terms, Cambridge Analytica is a total non-event. They were snake oil salespeople. The tools they used didn't work, and the scale they used them at wasn't meaningful,' Bosworth said.
'Every claim they have made about themselves is garbage. Data of the kind they had isn't that valuable to being with and worse it degrades quickly, so much so as to be effectively useless in 12-18 months.
'The platform was such a poor move that the risks associated were bound to come to light. That we shut it down in 2014 and never paid the piper on how bad it was makes this scrutiny justified in my opinion, even if it is narrowly misguided.'
Bosworth said Cambridge Analytica started by running surveys on Facebook to get information out of people.
'It later pivoted to be an advertising company, part of our Facebook Marketing Partner program, who other companies could hire to run their ads. Their claim to fame was psychographic targeting. This was pure snake oil and we knew it; their ads performed no better than any other marketing partner (and in many cases performed worse).
'I personally regret letting them stay on the FMP program for that reason alone. However at the time we thought they were just another company trying to find an angle to promote themselves and assumed poor performance would eventually lose them their clients.
'We had no idea they were shopping an old Facebook dataset that they were supposed to have deleted (and certified to us in writing that they had).'
Bosworth's 2,500 word memo was initially leaked to the New York Times on Tuesday before the top executive published it in full on his public Facebook account
In his memo, Bosworth described the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal as a 'non-event'. The scandal erupted back in March 2018 when it emerged the company had misused data from millions of Facebook accounts
Bosworth said that when Trump won the 2016 election, Cambridge Analytica tried to take credit and it launched the company back onto Facebook's radar.
'Later on, we found out from journalists that they had never deleted the database and had instead made