The suspended boss of Cambridge Analytica (CA) has been called to appear before MPs to explain “inconsistencies” in his evidence about the firm’s use of Facebook data.
Alexander Nix has been asked to attend another grilling by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee.
Meanwhile Culture Secretary Matt Hancock said the revelations about Facebook and CA marked a “turning point” in people’s attitudes to their online data.
The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary said new measures coming into force in May could leave Facebook facing a fine of more than £1 billion if it breached data laws and promised the Information Commissioner would also be given beefed-up powers.
But the data watchdog has yet to be granted a warrant to search CA’s computers as part of its current investigation and Mr Hancock acknowledged the “system isn’t good enough” at present.
The decision by MPs to recall Mr Nix comes after Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan – who developed a personality survey used to harvest tens of millions of people’s data for CA – contradicted some of his evidence.
Dr Kogan said Mr Nix was wrong when he told MPs he had not been supplied data by the academic’s firm Global Science Research (GSR).
Mr Nix told MPs that GSR “did some research for us back in 2014” that “proved to be fruitless”.
Asked if that was wrong, Dr Kogan told the BBC: “I believe it is. I don’t see why that would be accurate.”
Select committee chairman Damian Collins said in a letter to Mr Nix – who was suspended earlier this week – that there were “a number of inconsistencies” in the evidence given on his appearance on February 27, “notably your denial that your company received data from the Global Science Research company”.
He added: “Giving false statements to a select committee is a very serious matter. We urge you to come forward and explain your comments at a committee hearing.”