WASHINGTON — The former Cambridge Analytica staffer who blew the whistle on the companys misuse of users Facebook data said its possible that many more than the reported 87 million profiles were accessed.
“I think that it could be higher. Absolutely,” said Cambridge Analytica co-founder Christopher Wylie when asked if the number could be greater than 87 million.
“In terms of how many people had access to the Facebook data or derivatives of that data, I couldnt tell you because it was a lot of people,” Wylie told NBC News “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd in an interview that will air Sunday.
Facebook reported earlier this week that Cambridge Analytica obtained access to 37 million more user profiles than the 50 million originally reported. CEO Mark Zuckerberg will be testifying before Congress next week.
Wylie was one of the main sources in the bombshell New York Times and Observer of London investigation that found that Cambridge Analytica had obtained information on tens of millions of Facebook users through an academic researcher, a method that violated Facebooks term of service. But the data firm — which boasted of its ability to extrapolate personality types from user data and target Facebook feeds with specifically tailored ads — never deleted the data once Facebook discovered the violation in 2015.
In his “Meet the Press” interview, Wylie says the data “could be stored in various parts of the world, including Russia.” He added that “its not water-tight to say that we can ensure that all the data is gone forever.”
Cambridge Analytica did work for President Donald Trumps campaign, but the White House has downplayed those efforts. The company also claims that none of the data was used during its work on the 2016 election.
But some of the biggest fallout from the scandal has hit Facebook, where the social network has been lambasted by lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic and seen its stock prices dive over concerns that tighter regulation could be in store.
“That was a huge mistake, and it was my mistake,” Zuckerberg said on a call with reporters April 4, part of his media blitz in the aftermath of the news.