Alexander Nix, the former CEO of Cambridge Analytica (CA), was a central figure in Netflix’s new documentary, The Great Hack. Where is Alexander Nix now? According to a recent complaint filed by the FTC, Nix is currently living in London, England. Learn more about the latest news about Nix below.
Alexander Nix Canceled a Cannes Appearance that Was Scheduled for the Same Day as the Documentary’s Release at Cannes
Just last month, Alexander Nix canceled a scheduled appearance at the Cannes Festival, which just happened to be scheduled for the same day that The Great Hack documentary was releasing there, Adweek reported. He was scheduled to speak on a Thursday night in mid-June and canceled just 24 hours before his appearance. He was supposed to be part of a panel moderated by the Financial Times. He was going to talk about “personal data and political agendas,” CNBC reported.
A special screening of The Great Hack was scheduled to happen at the Festival on the same day.
A spokesperson for Cannes said in a statement: “Alexander Nix, former CEO and founder of Cambridge Analytica will no longer be speaking in the Debussy Theatre on Thursday, 20 June. Cannes Lions accepts his decision to withdraw. The festival is currently taking place, with over 600 speakers from across all industries addressing brands, agencies, media companies and consultancies in creative communications.”
People Were Angry Over Nix’s Attendance
When news came out that Nix was going to speak at Cannes, a lot of people were angry, Adweek reported. One person wrote an op-ed to Cannes, published on The Drum, demanding his removal and saying it was a “monumental act of self harm.”
The interview had been advertised as Nix’s first speaking engagement since the CA scandal had erupted, CNBC reported.
During the documentary, Brittany Kaiser said that she was actually sad, in a way, to be turning in evidence against Cambridge Analytica and Alexander Nix. She said Nix was like a mentor to her and had always been kind. After her testimony in the UK, he texted her and said she had done a good job, which she was surprised to receive. She didn’t respond back.
A lot of information about Cambridge Analytica came out after Channel 4 released an undercover video involving Alexander Nix and other executives. In the video, one executive admitted that CA had worked with Donald Trump’s campaign and talked about how CA had come up with the Crooked Hillary photo that showed handcuffs for the “OO” in Crooked. The executive said they would put information into the “bloodstream of the Internet” and watch it grow, unattributed and untrackable. You can watch one of the videos below. The films were made between November 2017 and January 2018. An undercover Channel 4 reporter posed as a wealthy client looking for help with Sri Lanka campaigns.
In the secret interviews, Nix said the firm campaigns in elections across the world and operates through a series of shadow front companies or through sub-contractors, Channel 4 reported. They try to dig up dirt on opponents of their clients. Nix said they sometimes “send some girls around to the candidate’s house,” and those Ukrainian girls are “very beautiful, I find that works well.”
He said that they also offer large amounts of money to a candidate, offering to finance a campaign in exchange for land or other favors. They record the offers, blank out the face of their employee, and post the video online. Channel 4 pointed out that offering bribes to public officials violates the UK Bribery Act and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
After the video, Nix was suspended, CA was shut down, and ultimately filed for bankruptcy.
Nix insisted that CA had never worked on an election in the UK, but Kaiser said in the documentary that this wasn’t true. However, Nix told Spectator that indeed, CA had never been contracted to work on Brexit.
The FTC Said Cambridge Analytica Was Deceptive & Nix Will Be Restricted from Making ‘False’ Statements in the Future
The FTC just announced that they reached a settlement with Nix, along with Aleksandr Kogan, a former University of Cambridge professor, The Verge reported. At the same time, the FTC said that CA had harvested Facebook information deceptively using a personality test app and falsely told users that it wouldn’t download any identifiable information.
Nix must destroy any personal information he has, under his settlement, and will be “restricted” from making false or deceptive statements about personal information in the future, The Verge reported.
You can read the full complaint from the FTC about Cambridge Analytica here. The FTC wrote on July 24, 2019: “Individually or in concert with others, Nix formulated, directed, controlled, had the authority to control, or participated in the acts and practices alleged in this complaint. Nix currently resides in London, England. Nix, in connection with the matters alleged herein, transacts or has transacted business throughout the United States.”
The FTC also noted: “Nix was personally involved in the data harvesting Project. In addition to signing the June 2014 Agreement, he directly communicated and met with Kogan about the Project, personally authorized payment for Project-related costs, reviewed survey questions and specifically requested certain Facebook data or analysis, and directed internal actions within SCL Elections and Cambridge Analytica related to implementing the GSRApp, analyzing the GSRApp data, and using the GSRApp data for Cambridge Analytica clients in the United States.”
Nix just told Spectator in May: “The idea of applying psychology or behavioural sciences to communication is not a new one. It’s very old behavioural economics. If it gives you some additional insights — so be it. But it is not like you’re hoodwinking millions of people into buying more toothpaste because you realise their favourite colour was red.”
He added that the “personality type” algorithm wasn’t effective and it didn’t yield the results they wanted. “We abandoned it pretty early on… The data hadn’t been used with great effect to achieve anything.”