Cambridge Analytica attempts a self-defense via Twitter tweetstorm, but it backfires

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Cambridge Analytica, the London-based data-analytics firm at the center of a Facebook-related firestorm thanks to journalistic exposés by The New York Times and the U.K.'s Observer (see "How Trump Consultants Exploited the Facebook Data of Millions," which was released online by the Times on Saturday and appeared on Sunday's print front page, and "The Cambridge Analytica Files" in The Observer, which followed the same online/print-release cycle), took to Twitter over the weekend to attempt to defend itself.

It didn't go so well.

This Saturday tweet remains the pinned tweet on the company's Twitter page as of this writing:

It links to a longer statement via press release. The precise wording of the self-defense escaped no one on Twitter. For instance, here's the most-liked response to the above tweet at the moment:

Cambridge Analytica also attempted a hey-calm-down-this-is-no-big-deal defense in a separate eight-part tweetstorm. Part 1:

CA then attempted to shift blame to an outside company, GSR, for selling it Facebook data it allegedly wasn't supposed to:

Cambridge Analytica also tried to distance itself from Christopher Wylie, the whistleblower who spoke to both the Times and the Observer about CA's innner workings. (See "'We broke Facebook': Meet the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower.")

And then, in four tweets closing out the tweetstorm, CA attempted to downplay its entire approach:

The problem with the company's position here is that the product it's been selling isn't mere "research & analysis"—it is, essentially, consumer/voter manipulation. And in general the Twittersphere isn't buying Cambridge Analytica's "advertising isn't coercive" bit or CA's attempt to portray itself as simply engaging in especially well-targeted advertising:

And as lots of people have pointed out on Twitter, Cambridge Analytica proudly touts its expertise in "Data-driven behavior change" in the main graphic right on its Twitter page:

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