Did President Uhuru Kenyatta’s campaign team use Kenyan data on social media to shape his campaign in the run-up to last year’s general election?
This is the question on many people’s mind after reports emerged that a firm hired by Jubilee Party mined Facebook data to shape Donald Trump’s election as US president.
Uhuru’s party has never denied or admitted hiring Cambridge Analytica but there is credible information that its parent company – Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) was involved in its campaigns.
Read: Uhuru hires data firm behind Trump, Brexit victories
The Guardian of the UK has reported that 50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica for the US elections in a major data breach.
A Whistleblower describes how firm linked to former Trump adviser Steve Bannon compiled user data to target American voters.
The whistleblower told the Observer how Cambridge Analytica used personal information taken without authorisation in 2014 to build a system that could profile individual US voters.
This information was then used to target them with personalised political advertisements.
“We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles. And built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons. That was the basis that the entire company was built on,” Christopher Wylie told the Observer.
Wylie says he helped found Cambridge Analytica but has since left the organisation.
“Cambridge Analytica was supposed to be the arsenal of weapons to fight that culture war,” Wylie says in an article appearing in the New York Times on the growing controversy.
Facebook has already suspended Strategic Communication Laboratories after it found they had violated its policies.
“Protecting people’s information is at the heart of everything it does, and requires the same from people who operate apps on the platform.” read part of the statement.
The firm is owned by the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, and headed at the time by Trump’s key adviser Steve Bannon.
It is also at the centre of a growing controversy over the use of personal data to influence the Brexit vote in the UK and Donald Trump’s election.
More: Facebook suspends Jubilee linked Cambridge Analytica for violation
Last September, former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called Kenya’s annulled presidential election “a project” of Cambridge Analytica.
She said she was probing what happened in the election and why the Supreme Court invalided it.
“You know, the Kenya election was just overturned and really what’s interesting about that — and I hope somebody writes about it, Terry — the Kenyan election was also a project of Cambridge Analytica, the data company owned by the Mercer family that was instrumental in the Brexit vote,” Clinton said in a news interview with NRP.
Read: Kenyan polls project of dubious firm – Clinton