In 2014, Steve Bannon and Cambridge Analytica use Facebook and Twitter to beta test a digital manipulation tactic using fake profiles / bots to spread Russian messaging. Bannon co-founded the company in 2013 with fellow conservative Robert Mercer and became vice president and secretary of Cambridge Analytica in 2014.
In an interview Tuesday with The Washington Post at his lawyer’s London office, Wylie said that Bannon — while he was a top executive at Cambridge Analytica and head of Breitbart News — was deeply involved in the company’s strategy and approved spending nearly $1 million to acquire data, including Facebook profiles, in 2014.
“We had to get Bannon to approve everything at this point. Bannon was Alexander Nix’s boss,” said Wylie, who was Cambridge Analytica’s research director. “Alexander Nix didn’t have the authority to spend that much money without approval.”The Washington Post
Part of this initiative was to try and suppress the Black vote, as well as test the effectiveness of future Trump campaign slogans.
“Mr. Bannon sees cultural warfare as the means to create enduring change in American politics. It was for this reason Mr. Bannon engaged SCL, a foreign military contractor, to build an arsenal of informational weapons he could deploy on the American population.”
Wylie also claims to have seen documents referencing these tactics. For example, the Guardian reported, “Facebook posts were targeted at some black voters reminding them of Hillary Clinton’s 1990s description of black youths as ‘super predators’, in the hope it would deter them from voting … Wylie also explained why Cambridge Analytica was testing messages such as ‘drain the swamp’ and ‘build the wall’ in 2014, before the Trump campaign existed.”Forbes
In early 2017, Congress opens an investigation into ties between Russia, Cambridge Analytica, and the Trump Campaign.
In May 2018, it is revealed that Russian intelligence had direct access to Cambridge Analytica’s data and that one purpose of the company was to gather information for blackmailing high profile people.