WATCH: Channel 4's Cambridge Analytica documentary is an eye-opening look at the business of election influencing
"An online information war where unseen hands harvest your personal data, tapping into your hopes and fears for the greatest political yield."
An undercover investigation by Channel 4 News has accused British data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica of secretly campaigning in elections across the world.
In a documentary aired on Channel 4 on Monday night, high-profile figures from Cambridge Analytica were filmed discussing the use of bribes, ex-spies, fake IDs and sex workers to influence elections.
An undercover reporter posed as a Sri Lankan businessman with the story that he wished to influence a local election.
Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix was apparently filmed detailing examples of his company's ability to discredit political rivals via smear campaigns, including arranging encounters with sex workers and staging scenarios in which bribery could be caught on camera.
In one exchange, Managing Director of CA Political Global Mark Turnbull outlines how data can be used to influence the public:
"We just put information into the bloodstream of the internet, and then, and then watch it grow, give it a little push every now and again… like a remote control," he said.
"It has to happen without anyone thinking, ‘that’s propaganda’, because the moment you think ‘that’s propaganda’, the next question is, ‘Who’s put that out?’"
You can watch the documentary in full below.
Clip via Channel 4 News
The Channel 4 doc arrives just days after an Observer exposé revealed that 50 million Facebook profiles were harvested for Cambridge Analytica.
For their part, Cambridge Analytica has hit back at Channel 4 since the airing of the documentary.
In a statement issued to CNN on Monday night, the company said that the production was "edited and scripted to grossly misrepresent the nature of those conversations and how the company conducts its business."
Elsewhere, an official press release strongly rejects the allegations made by the documentary.
“In playing along with this line of conversation, and partly to spare our ‘client’ from embarrassment, we entertained a series of ludicrous hypothetical scenarios," said Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix.
"I am aware how this looks, but it is simply not the case. I must emphatically state that Cambridge Analytica does not condone or engage in entrapment, bribes or so-called ‘honeytraps’, and nor does it use untrue material for any purpose.
“I deeply regret my role in the meeting and I have already apologised to staff. I should have recognised where the prospective client was taking our conversations and ended the relationship sooner.”