In addition to Palantir, Till has a subtle relationship with Facebook, the other party to the incident. Till himself was the first investor at the time of Facebook’s founding and was a member of the company’s board of directors.
According to the “New York Times” report, an employee of Palantir’s London, UK, was working with Cambridge University’s data scientists to create a psychoanalysis model. The Palantir staff suggested that Cambridge scientists develop their own applications. Into the Facebook user's network of friends, and then get the user's own and friends' data.
Cambridge University eventually adopted this proposal. In the summer of that year, Facebook discovered that researchers at the University of Cambridge were using psychoanalytic applications to collect user data. This application collected private data from more than 50 million users. After that, the use of these data by Cambridge Analytica affected the U.S. election and violated the U.S. and British laws.
One of the co-founders of Palantir, the famous Silicon Valley investor Tiel. In addition, Till is one of the firm supporters of President Trump of the United States and also a member of Facebook's board of directors.
Christopher Wylie, a data expert and co-founder of Cambridge Analytica, said in testimony to British lawmakers on Tuesday: "there are a number of senior Palantir employees who are also working on Facebook data."
Since the theft of Facebook user data was exposed by the New York Times and The Guardian, Cambridge Analytica immediately went into a deep water.
Immediately after Wylie submitted his testimony, the link between Palantir and Cambridge Analytica became a target of media attention. The two companies had a relationship with both Trump supporters, and the main owner of the Analytica was computer science. Robert Mercern, a scientist and hedge fund giant, and Palantir, a company Mr Thiel co-founded in 2003, And don't forget that Till was an early investor in Facebook.
The Palantir employee, Alfredas Chmieliauskasan, whose name is Alfredas Chmieliauskasan, said in an initial statement at the company that he had never had anything to do with Cambridge Analytica. Nor have they worked with them on data. But then the company changed its statement, saying that when Cemile Oskas suggested Wylie collect Facebook data, it did not represent the company's intention.
Palantir said: “We found today that an employee participated in Cambridge Analytica's activities from 2013 to 2014, but this is the personal behavior of this employee. We are currently investigating this incident and will take corresponding actions.”
The company said that they will continue to investigate and said they are sure that no other employees have participated in the incident. However, Wylie's testimony shows that there are several Palantir employees involved in the matter.
Documents and interviews show that in 2013, Cemilivo Oscar started to establish contact with a colleague of Wylie and Wylie. At that time, Wylie and his contractor SCL Group, who also worked for the British National Defense and Intelligence Department, established Cambridge Analytica with Metzel in the following year. The three parties once discussed how to use big data to establish precise behavior research. The internal code of this product is “Big Daddy”.
Wylie's testimony and email exchanges showed Sophie Schmidt, daughter of Google's former CEO Eric Schmidt, was interning at SCL, where she called for SCL to establish contact with Palantir.
"do you know anyone from Palantir?" one SCL employee wrote in an email to a colleague. One interesting thing is that Eric Schmidt's daughter is interning at our company and he wants us to connect with Palantir. "
Ms. Schmidt did not respond to requests for comment. Cambridge Analytica’s spokesperson did not respond to the news.
Alexander Nix, director of Cambridge Analytica and later CEO of Cambridge Analytica, held talks with Palantir executives in early 2013 on a partnership that followed the election in the United States.
A spokeswoman for Palantir admitted that the two companies had briefly considered cooperation, but Palantir later refused the cooperation, partly because the executives of the other company wanted to control the election. E-mail exchanges between the two sides showed that the Knicks and Cemilioskas had reopened the cooperation dialogue in 2014, but Palantir again refused to cooperate.
In the testimony, Wylie stated that Palantir had never signed any contract with Cambridge Analytica and had not reached any formal business relationship. However, he also stated that some Palantir employees had provided engineering assistance for their psychological investigation applications. ”
Wylie said in the testimony: “There are some Palantir employees who have come to our office to analyze the data together. We will also go to the other company to find these employees.” However, Wylie did not disclose how many Palantir employees provided them with help.
According to information held by The New York Times, Palantir employees were very surprised about the Metzel background of Cambridge Analytica, because after all, Metzel was one of the richest people in the world. In the eyes of Cambridge Analytica, Palantir's close ties with Silicon Valley are the most important to them. They hope that they can use Palantir's influence in Silicon Valley when expanding their business.
In an interview with The New York Times this month, Wylie once said that those Palantir employees were very eager to learn how to use Facebook data. Wylie disclosed that the discussion between the two parties continued until the spring of 2014.
Wylie said that he had visited the London office of Palantir in Soho Square with the Knicks. Wylie revealed that there are two parts in Palantir's London office. One of them is heavily guarded and has multiple independent rooms. Only those with special authority can enter. On the other side of the office is a typical start-up, with inspiring quotes on the walls. The company provides its staff with free beer and a table tennis table.
In 2014, Cemile Oskas continued to communicate with Wylie's team, while Cambridge Analytica employees were busy negotiating with Cambridge University researcher Michael Kosinskiy. The topic of discussion was the use of applications developed by Kosinsky to capture Facebook data, which will play a vital role in promoting Cambridge Analytica products. These data also play a key role.
In May 2014, Cemilioskas wrote in the e-mail: "I have an idea. We can make a Cambridge University professor's research into a mobile application and then connect it to Facebook. You can talk to this professor. ."
Their negotiations with Kosinsky ended in failure. But Wylie reached a consensus with another Cambridge researcher. This is Aleksandr Koganzan, a Russian-American psychologist who developed his own personality testing app for the Facebook platform. In a matter of months, Cogan's app helped Cambridge Analytica access tens of millions of U.S. Facebook users.