“As a citizen, one has a duty to report unlawful activity,” he said, when asked by the U.K. Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee why he came forward. “I wouldn’t say it’s just because of Donald Trump, but Donald Trump makes it click in your head that it has a much wider impact.”
Wylie appeared before British parliament to discuss his role as a former employee of the data firm Cambridge Analytica. Wylie became a central figure in the scandal involving the data firm last week when he told the U.K.’s Observer newspaper and the New York Times that Cambridge Analytica allegedly used personal information of up to 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge through a third-party quiz app.
Wylie, who left the company in 2014, said that he was concerned about the data’s possible misuse in the 2016 US election and that it might have been used to target specific voters with campaign ads.
Wylie previously told ABC News that he will also speak to politicians in the U.S., already accepting an invitation to appear before the House Permanent Select Committee that is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“One of the reasons why I’m speaking out is because I think that it’s really concerning that no one has really investigated Cambridge Analytica and its role in the 2016 election,” Wylie told ABC News.
Cambridge Analytica has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and in a statement on Tuesday took issue with Wylie’s testimony.
“Chris Wylie has misrepresented himself and the company to the committee, and previously to the news media,” the statement read. It added “Chris Wylie was a part-time contractor who left Cambridge Analytica in July 2014 and has no direct knowledge of the company’s work or practices since that date. He was at the company for less than a year, after which he was made the subject of restraining undertakings to prevent his misuse of the company's intellectual property while attempting to set up his own rival firm. He was not, as he claims, a founder of Cambridge Analytica.”
A Facebook spokesman confirmed to ABC News that the company received the invitation to appear on April 10, moments before it was shared with the media, and said that it was being “reviewed.”
“Companies who have settled previous FTC actions must also comply with FTC order provisions imposing privacy and data security requirements,” the agency wrote in a press release. “Accordingly, the FTC takes very seriously recent press reports raising substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook. Today, the FTC is confirming that it has an open non-public investigation into these practices.”
Facebook Deputy Chief Privacy Officer Rob Sherman said last week of rumors of the FTC action, “We remain strongly committed to protecting people’s information. We appreciate the opportunity to answer questions the FTC may have.”