Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said Thursday that he “doesn’t remember” purchasing personal information from Facebook while working for the data firm Cambridge Analytica.
Following his appearance at the Financial Times’ “Future of News” conference in New York on Thursday afternoon, CNN’s Dana Bash asked if Bannon, who once served as a Cambridge Analytica vice president, knew the firm was using personal information from Facebook.
“That Facebook data, by the way, is for sale all over the world,” Bannon responded, later adding, “I don’t remember buying it. That was the Cambridge guy.”
Donald Trump’s presidential campaign hired the firm for the 2016 election, and other high-profile Republican campaigns and political groups used its services in past election cycles.
During his session at the “Future of News” conference, Bannon addressed recent reports that Cambridge Analytica misused Facebook users’ data.
“The point is, that is Facebook’s business. In 2008, it was Google and Facebook that went to Barack Obama and met him at San Francisco airport and told him all about the power of this personal data,” Bannon said, adding that “the great opposition party – media – never went after the Obama campaign, never went after the progressive left as they’ve been doing this for years. And in 2013, when I thought a data company might be important, all the sudden it becomes global news.”
However, he said he “would rather not comment on” the firm’s CEO, Alexander Nix, who was suspended earlier this week following undercover videos that reportedly show him discussing potential bribery and entrapment.
Bannon also had choice words about Facebook and the company’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, who spoke to media outlets, including CNN, on Wednesday about the reports of data misuse.
“His entire business model is made up upon taking that data for free and monetizing it, and then writing algorithms behind a wall that treat you like hamsters on a wheel. That’s their business model,” Bannon told the audience.
He later added that Zuckerberg sounded “like a first-year associate” during his interviews, in which “nobody asked a tough follow-up question.”
CNN’s Dana Bash contributed to this report.