No big surprise, but it seems as though Vladimir Putin will be Russia’s very, very authoritarian leader for six more years — unless he freezes in Siberia while trying to show off his machismo.
If you thought that Cambridge Analytica has something to do with Cambridge, Massachusetts, guess again.
It’s a privately held company in which megabig Donald Trump supporter Robert Mercer has a very substantial investment. It was founded by Mercer and Trump’s former campaign chairman and chief strategist, Steve Bannon.
Cambridge Analytica, a “psychographics company," combines data mining and data analysis with strategic communication for the electoral process. It worked for Ted Cruz’s failed 2016 presidential campaign, and then it worked for Trump’s presidential campaign, as well as on the disastrously successful Brexit campaign. It’s now under criminal investigation in the UK and in Massachusetts (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambridge_Analytica).
Politico’s Steven Overly tells us that Cambridge Analytica exploited data on 50 million Facebook users (https://www.politico.com/story/2018/03/17/facebook-trump-campaign-data-cambridge-analytica-423599).
Today, NPR’s Amy Held reported that Facebook has removed Cambridge Analytica from its platforms, saying that the company improperly received Facebook user data and then (most likely) failed to get rid of it, despite promises that it had done so (https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/03/17/594550593/facebook-suspends-political-data-firm-used-in-trump-campaign).
Associate solitary reporter Foma Kheroshonsky, who is based in Moscow, interviewed Putin earlier today, but failed to congratulate him on his victory. Putin told Kheroshonsky that now that he has much more power than Trump does, he is in the process of purchasing Cambridge Analytica. “Any company that can do that much harm is a company that I need.”
“Most likely,” Putin continued, "Cambridge Analytica can not only guarantee that my close political and personal friend Donald Trump will be reelected in 2020, but it will enable me to quash any effort by the UK to prevent me from continuing to murder my former spies who are living there."