- Facebook stock is down around $50 billion since details emerged of 50 million accounts having been harvested for data by Cambridge Analytica.
- The source of the story was former Cambridge Analytica employee Chris Wylie.
- At a talk in London on Tuesday he said he didn’t see the financial backlash coming.
- Wylie said Facebook had brought most of the losses upon itself by handling the story poorly.
- He said the network deserves scrutiny, but said he isn’t “on a crusade” against it.
Chris Wylie, the ex-employee who blew the whistle on the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, said that he did not anticipate the catastrophic effect on Facebook’s share price, and is not “on a crusade” against the company.
Wylie was discussing the background to the complex story, which broke over the weekend, at a talk in London attended by Business Insider.
He addressed the precipitous fall in Facebook’s share price after being prompted by Peter Jukes, who was interviewing Wylie in front of an audience at the Frontline Club, a talking shop for journalists.
— Tom Leitch (@shoez) March 20, 2018
Jukes estimated the losses to Facebook’s market capitalisation as “about $50 billion.”
Wylie responded: “That was not my intention, and, I’ll put it this way: I think that it is Facebook’s behaviour that has caused that knock in share price, I don’t think it’s me.”
He said that since going public Facebook has “tried to turn the story against me” and in the process “made it a lot worse for themselves.”
Wylie continued: “The frustrating thing for me is this story has really spiralled into Facebook’s bizarre reaction to it rather than what the original story was meant to be about. And that’s not necessarily an entirely bad thing.
“I think Facebook deserves a certain level of scrutiny, but that wasn’t what I set out to do. I’m not on a crusade against Facebook.”
He is far from the only one to criticise Facebook over its reaction to the scandal.
A grassroots backlash has seen “#deleteFacebook” trending on social media, while members of the US Senate, UK Parliament, investors, and Facebook’s own employees have also made their feelings on the company known.
Business Insider attempted to speak with Wylie after the talk, but he was ushered away by a group of minders. Further requests were also turned down.