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Facebook board member Peter Thiel helped fund Cambridge Analytica’s work

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Getting it done.Image: Drew Angerer/GettyBy Jack Morse2018-03-22 19:49:06 UTC

Mark Zuckerberg has 40 billion reasons to be mad at Cambridge Analytica, but he should save at least some of that anger for Facebook board member Peter Thiel. 
That’s because Thiel, who infamously supported the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, also happened to donate $1,000,000 in October of 2016 to the Super PAC Make America Number 1 — an organization that paid Cambridge Analytica $231,352 toward the end of the same year, an FEC filing shows.

That’s the same Cambridge Analytica, of course, that worked on behalf of Donald Trump’s campaign for president. Trump secured the Republican party nomination in July of 2016. 
In other words, a portion of Thiel’s wealth — some of which was derived from his early investment in Facebook — likely made its way into the coffers of Cambridge Analytica via Make America Number 1. 
To make matters worse, Zuckerberg has stated that the data analysis firm’s inappropriate acquisition of Facebook user data was known to his company as early as 2015. 

Of course, it’s unclear if Thiel knew that Make America Number 1 was shelling out tons of cash to Cambridge Analytica when he made his donation. But here’s the thing: it most certainly was. Thiel’s contribution was on October 26, 2016. FEC documents show that between October 3 and October 19 of the same year Make America Number 1 paid out $323,908 to Cambridge Analytica — $20,000 of which was for “DATA ACQUISITION SERVICES.”
Remember, this is after Facebook discovered Cambridge Analytica had been in possession of ill-gotten Facebook data. Cambridge Analytica told Facebook it had deleted that data when Facebook instructed it to, but recent reports indicate at least some of the data wasn’t deleted.
Was Thiel unaware of what the Super PAC was doing with its money? Maybe. Is Thiel a reckless investor who doesn’t first do due diligence? You tell me.
Now, in his role as a Facebook board member, Thiel likely did not know the details about the shady goings-on at Cambridge Analytica. However, the fact that he co-founded Palantir — itself a data analysis firm — suggests he isn’t naive about what a company like Cambridge Analytica could do with data profiles on 50 million Facebook users.
As Zuckerberg faces demands to testify from across the globe, and typically pro-tech publications like TechCrunch begin to call for his resignation, we imagine he’s wondering how he ever let things get this bad. 
Maybe he should ask Peter Thiel. 

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