Cambridge Analytica’s Parent Company Helped Shape Saudi Arabia’s Reform Movement

Source: The New York Times

By Danny Hakim


The price of oil was in free fall and a youthful population restive.

So the government of Saudi Arabia turned in recent years to the parent company of the political data firm Cambridge Analytica for help, according to Western consultants who worked in the kingdom, company executives and a review of public documents.


The work by Cambridge’s parent, a secretive defense and intelligence contractor called SCL Group, presaged the tumultuous changes that are reshaping the kingdom. The company, now mired in scandals related to its corporate practices and the use of Facebook user data, conducted a detailed population study. It provided a psychological road map of the kingdom’s citizenry and its sentiment toward the royal family, even testing potential reform steps as they charted a path forward to preserve stability.

The consultants and executives spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were bound by nondisclosure agreements.

One proposal tested by the company was lifting a 35-year ban on cinemas in the kingdom, an action that was subsequently taken in December. Another was allowing women to drive, a move that was made last September.

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1 reply

  1. Well, this approach is not altogether wrong. No harm to try and find out what the population thinks and feels and wishes for. However for religious guidance actually we should look towards the Authority that Allah has appointed and that happens to be the Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at. check out and all its various channels, including MTA3, The Arabic Channel.

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