Billionaire Peter Thiel’s company Palantir worked with political data firm Cambridge Analytica, whistleblower Christopher Wylie told U.K. lawmakers Tuesday.
Cambridge Analytica allegedly misused the Facebook data of up to 50 million user profiles and built a software program with the data to profile voters and target them with personalized political ads, working closely with President Donald Trump’s election team and the winning Brexit campaign.
Wylie said Palantir had several meetings with Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix and that “senior Palantir employees” then worked on the data harvested by Cambridge.
“That was not an official contract between Palantir and Cambridge Analytica, but there were Palantir staff that would come into the office and work on that data,” Wylie told lawmakers at a marathon Commons select committee.
“We’d also go meet with Palantir staff at Palantir,” he added. “Palantir didn’t officially contract with Cambridge Analytica , but there were Palantir staff who’d help build the models that we were working on.”
Thiel, a venture capitalist, Facebook board member and Trump supporter, co-founded Palantir in 2004. Its original clients were federal agencies and has since expanded its customer base.
A Palantir spokesperson told BuzzFeed News: “Palantir has never had a relationship with Cambridge Analytica nor have we ever worked on any Cambridge Analytica data.”
“Alexander Nix was very interested in the work that Palantir did in part because Sophie Schmidt — who is the daughter of Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Google — worked for Alexander Nix before I came on board and introduced him to Palantir,” Wylie said.