Parliament grilled Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer on Thursday, asking him questions about the social media company’s role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which roughly 87 million Facebook users had their data pilfered through a personality quiz app.
When an MP asked about Palantir having “improper access” to user data, Schroepfer confirmed that the company was looking into concerns about Palantir, a highly secretive surveillance and data-analytics company that has worked with the CIA, NSA, and FBI.
“I think we are looking at lots of different things now many people have raised that concern,” Schroepfer told the group. “It’s something else we are looking into.”
The inquiry was led by Damian Collins, chair of Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee. According to CNBC, Collins asked if Palantir was part of Facebook’s “review work.”
Schroepfer confirmed: “Correct.”
Whistleblower Christoper Wylie stated in March that Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy, had worked with Palantir. Palantir denied working with the company, but told The New York Times that “an employee, in 2013-2014, engaged in an entirely personal capacity with people associated with Cambridge Analytica.”
In mid-March, Facebook admitted that Cambridge Analytica had improperly accessed data on tens of millions of Facebook users, which it collected through a quiz app called This Is Your Digital Life. According to Wylie, Cambridge Analytica used the data to create psychographic profiles of voters.
While it’s unclear if it gained access to the Facebook user data that Cambridge Analytica harvested, Palantir’s connection to the social network extends beyond any potential collaboration with Cambridge Analytica. Peter Thiel, a Facebook board member, is a Palantir co-founder. (Thiel secretly funded a lawsuit that bankrupted Gawker Media, Gizmodo US’s former parent company.)