From the March 19 edition of MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes:
CHRIS HAYES (HOST): Angelo, you’ve been really tracking the role that Facebook played in the last election. And there are some people I see saying, like basically, “Cambridge Analytica, eh, they’re kind of, it’s sort of a con job on their part in terms of what they’re selling. It’s not that big a deal they got this data.” Where do you come down on that?
ANGELO CARUSONE: I want to split that because the con job I agree with to an extent. When they talk about all their psychographic stuff and all that, I think that it’s just marketing and I don’t put much stock into it. But there is something very important that they did have which is actual data. When a research place goes to Facebook and legally and acceptably acquires this data so they can do research and then Cambridge Analytica takes that data, that is against Facebook’s terms of service. They never should have had those 50 million profiles and with that they’re able to do a lot of targeting and I think that was really their advantage with the Trump campaign.
The Trump campaign is really downplaying their relationship with Cambridge too but I think the critical thing there is if you look at Brad Parscale who was the digital director then he was bragging about Project Alamo, the size of their database. The size of the Trump campaign’s database is the exact same number as the size of the Cambridge Analytica’s database. And they talked about the fact that they used Cambridge’s models in order to use lookalike audiences. So to some extent on the regulation front I treat this like a consumer product. It isn’t just the fact that Cambridge did something wrong here, it’s all the derivatives from that. So anything that took place from this ill-gotten data to begin with, the way I’m considering it is a fruit of the poison tree.
I think that if you look at it from the consumer protection angle and also the market I mean the reality is a lot of other advertisers were also ripped off here and so if Facebook doesn’t get themselves together just like the congressman had pointed out other people have to pay for even a sliver of this data, including other marketers. So that’s partly why that stock tanked today. The thing that scares me from a democracy perspective is that this data was actually deployed by the Trump campaign to run the single largest voter suppression effort ever. And I think that, and it was enabled by and facilitated by this ill-gotten data that should have never been there in the first place. And at minimum Facebook should have done something or at least known about this after Brad Parscale was out there bragging. That’s the part that concerns me is why did it take more than a year?