Christopher Wylie, the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, said Sunday (April 8) that more than 87 million Facebook users may have been accessed — and all of it could have been copied and stored in Russia.
CNN cited comments Wylie made on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, where he said the number of those compromised “could be higher” than the 87 million Facebook has disclosed. Wylie also said his lawyer has been in contact with authorities in the U.S. as well as congressional investigators and officials from the U.S. Justice Department. He told Chuck Todd on the news show that he will cooperate with all investigations. “We’re just setting out dates that I can actually go and sit down and meet with the authorities,” he said. “It could be stored in various parts of the world, including Russia, given the fact that the professor who was managing the data harvesting process was going back and forth between the U.K. and Russia.”
The whistleblower noted that a lot of employees at the political consulting firm had access to the data and said there is a “genuine risk” the data is being stored in Russia. According to Wylie, the data that was harvested can be copied — which puts countless people at risk and was one of the reasons he decided to speak out. “I know that Facebook is now starting to take steps to rectify that and start to find out who had access to it and where it could have gone, but ultimately it’s not watertight to say that, you know, we can ensure that all the data is gone forever,” Wylie said on the show.
For several weeks now, Facebook has been dealing with the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the political consulting firm accessed the data on 87 million — and now potentially more — users without their consent during the run up to the U.S. presidential election. That has sparked investigations in both the U.S. and U.K. as well as the pending appearance of Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg before Congress this week. Since the data scandal broke, Facebook has said it supports legislation that would reveal the identity of those buying political ads and is making changes to better alert users to how data is used and protected on the social media platform.