Alexander Nix won’t be a CEO anytime soon. Nix, who was head of disgraced British data company Cambridge Analytica during the 2016 US presidential elections, has been banned from running another company for seven years due to “potentially unethical” behavior, according to a UK government press release.
💎 Data Digs
- Nix, 45, ran the now-defunct Cambridge Analytica from 2013 to 2018, until he was suspended following a scandal involving Facebook data used to manipulate Americans via political ads.
- Last week, Britain’s Channel 4 news reported that the firm worked for the Trump campaign to deter black voters. According to their data, 3.5 million black Americans, many in key battleground states, were categorized as “Deterrence” by Cambridge Analytica in the hopes that they’d stay home on election day.
⚔️ Big Picture
- Cambridge Analytica worked for the 2016 Trump campaign by using millions of data points from Facebook to target voters, collecting information from tens of millions of Facebook profiles. The profile information was used for targeted advertising that had a direct impact on the 2016 election.
- Nix admitted to “potentially unethical services” including “bribery stings and honey trap stings designed to uncover corruption, voter disengagement campaigns, the obtaining of information to discredit political opponents, [and] the anonymous spreading of information” according to the UK government.
- The seven-year ban wasn’t Nix’s only punishment. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) settled with Nix over the data misuse scandal in 2019, barring him from conducting similar business in the future. Facebook, for its part in the scandal — selling data to the firm — was fined $5 billion by the US government.
⚡ Get Ahead
Alexander Nix may not head any companies for the time being, but Cambridge Analytica will remain a topic of discussion as ongoing investigations uncover more data breaches. This week, Facebook failed to convince Australian courts that its Australian users were safe from data breaches during the 2018 scandal. In fact, over 300,000 users’ data was exposed in 2016, while Cambridge Analytica was operating.
Carole Cadwalladr, the journalist who rose to prominence after breaking the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal, wrote this year that “If you’re not terrified about Facebook, you haven’t been paying attention.”