Cambridge Analytica, the shady data firm that might be a key Trump-Russia link, explained

Vox reports: The Daily Beast reported last week that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is looking into a data analytics company called Cambridge Analytica as part of its investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.

Cambridge Analytica specializes in what’s called “psychographic” profiling, meaning they use data collected online to create personality profiles for voters. They then take that information and target individuals with specifically tailored content (more on this below).

According to the Daily Beast report, congressional investigators believe that Russian hackers might have received help in their efforts to distribute “fake news” and other forms of misinformation during the 2016 campaign. Hence the focus on Cambridge Analytica.

So far there’s been a lot of speculation about the potential links between the Trump campaign and Russia, and most of the stories have orbited around the financial dealings of the Trump family and people like Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager. But this story is specifically about how team Trump might have facilitated Russia’s meddling in the US presidential election.

The stakes, in other words, are high.

So here’s what we know about Cambridge Analytica, its connections to the Trump campaign, and what sorts of things the House Intel probe is likely looking into. [Continue reading…]

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