Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon presided over a program at Cambridge Analytica that had the objective of collecting Facebook data to create voter profiles, a former employee of the data science firm told The Washington Post on Tuesday.
Bannon was vice president and secretary of Cambridge Analytica until he stepped down to run the Trump campaign in August 2016.
The program reportedly tested various phrases, including some notable expressions from President Donald Trump’s campaign, like “drain the swamp” and “deep state” as a way to persuade voters, Chris Wylie told The Post.
Last Friday, Facebook announced it was suspending Cambridge Analytica over concerns it had violated the social media site’s policies.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Cambridge Analytica denied that the organization is in violation of Facebook’s terms and said it is in communication with Facebook following the news it had been suspended from the platform.
Wylie told The Washington Post that the company spent nearly $1 million for data in 2014 — which included Facebook profiles — and the expense was approved by Bannon.
“We had to get Bannon to approve everything at this point. Bannon was Alexander Nix’s boss,” Wylie said in his interview with The Washington Post, referring to the company’s CEO, who was suspended Tuesday in the wake of undercover reports showing him discussing potential bribery and entrapment. “Alexander Nix didn’t have the authority to spend that much money without approval.”