A company that is accused of illegally using data from Facebook in political campaigns helped a political campaign in Colombia “during an election period dominated by allegations of corruption.”
According to the website of disgraced company Cambridge Analytica, it helped an election candidate in Colombia with “reputation management” through data collection.
During an election period dominated by allegations of corruption, all candidates sought to portray themselves as honest and trustworthy.
CA’s research revealed that such was the extent of mistrust among voters that any efforts by candidates to portray themselves as clean were unlikely to be effective. CA recommended that its client enlist the more credible voices of other figures to help deliver his message to voters. This combination of outside support and the candidate’s leveraging of his prior record proved to be the most effective electoral strategy.
The newspaper could find no evidence of payments made to the company or its Colombian branch in the financial records of the mayor’s 2015 campaign.
The company’s daughter company, Farrow Colombia, ran an app called pig.gi that offered free cell phone charges in return for advertising and polls.
It is uncertain if this app was used to illegally harvest Facebook data as the company allegedly did in the United States.
Colombia’s national authorities created a special unit this year to counter electoral interference earlier this year after the campaign manager of conservative politicians admitted to using disinformation in a 2016 campaign in opposition to a peace process.
The conservative candidate in the 2014 presidential elections was embarrassed after he was filmed with a convicted political hacker who had sought classified information for electoral purposes.
The hacker, who is now in prison, admitted working for previous political campaigns in Colombia and other parts of Latin America.
Cambridge Analytica allegedly harvested user information of 50 million Facebook users through apps and has been accused of using this data for targeted political campaigning.