As the clamour over the Observer’s revelations about Facebook’s data breach grew, Mark Zuckerberg kept his silence – then did little to assuage the anger. We chart the fallout from a week that has laid bare the worst of Silicon Valley

Every story has a beginning. For me, the story of Cambridge Analytica and Facebook that has unfolded so spectacularly this past week began in a cafe in Holloway, north London, at the beginning of 2017.

I was having a coffee with my colleague Carole Cadwalladr. She had recently written a series of articles that set out how certain Google search terms had been “hijacked by the alt-right”. In the course of that investigation she explained how she had come across another pattern of activity apparently linking the Trump and Leave.EU campaigns, one that appeared to involve the billionaire Robert Mercer, Steve Bannon – then of Breitbart – and a secretive British company called Cambridge Analytica. She laid out the elements of what she knew, and what she didn’t, testing her conviction that “there’s definitely something there”.

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