Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
leicsmac

Cambridge Analytica and Technocracy

Recommended Posts

It's been talked about a bit in the general politics threads (both UK and US-related), but I think given recent events it's important enough to have its own thread, so...

 

Founded in part by former Breitbart mogul and WH chief strategist Steve Bannon, Cambridge Analytica were just another technological data-mining company until a month or so ago, until they began to hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. News surfaced that this particular company had claimed access to the data of millions of Facebook users beginning in 2014, and in 2015 began a process which they labelled as "microtargeting" - aiming a plethora of ads and particular news pieces at individual users based on the data they had on them, with the intent of either getting them to vote for the candidate who had paid them, or to not vote at all. Both the Vote Leave program and the Trump 
Presidential campaign hired CA for their purposes, and the rather unexpected (to the bookies, anyway) success of both of those campaigns speaks for itself. More recently a CA exec was secretly filmed going into...much detail about the practices of his company, which again speaks for itself.

 

Based on all of this, it seems that CA (along with various other actors) were involved in an effort to manipulate the public in a way that the public knew nothing about for their own ends, to gain an election result that they were paid to deliver. That sounds, very much, like a serious subversion of the democratic process. 

 

Now, this isn't the first time that an accusation of subversion of democracy using the latest technology to manipulate people through careful targeting has been made (yellow journalism, after all, has been around in one form or another for centuries), but the methods seem to be getting more and more sophisticated and (more importantly) the instigators of these methods are becoming harder and harder to trace - it's only thanks to a whistleblower formerly of CA that this began to surface at all, remember.

 

The question is, though...is this really a subversion of democracy? Does what CA did (as well as other companies, perhaps) alter the playing field enough to swing an election in a significant fashion? Do the ends (winning that election) always justify the means, and so what they do is fair game? Should people be worried about such methods becoming as sophisticated as they are now? Are people really being manipulated into voting (or not voting) and not even really realising it's happening? Is that something that can be stopped at all, or is that simply an acceptable side-effect of democracy?

 

And, most importantly, where do we go from here, as the digital era continues to keep pace and information regarding peoples lives, passions, vices and virtues become ever more readily available to the highest bidder?

 

I'd be interested in knowing what people think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pretty much told everyone I know that Facebook would go from a way to communicate with people to a way to control them. 

 

Glad I kept away from that shite. 

 

Going to be a massive investigation to get to the bottom of all this crap. Even then, are there even any current laws covering this right now? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Innovindil said:

Pretty much told everyone I know that Facebook would go from a way to communicate with people to a way to control them. 

 

Glad I kept away from that shite. 

 

Going to be a massive investigation to get to the bottom of all this crap. Even then, are there even any current laws covering this right now? 

That's a damn good question. This could be one of those cases where the tech is actually moving faster than the laws governing it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, NewEnglandFox said:

Started in 2012 and now we're here. But it's not a problem until the wrong side wins, right? Then it's a problem.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/feb/17/obama-digital-data-machine-facebook-election

Did the Obama campaign gather and disseminate information with at best dubious consent of FB users and with little idea about who was pulling the strings? 

 

If they did, then it was a problem then and it's a problem now IMO.

Edited by leicsmac

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, leicsmac said:

Did the Obama campaign gather and disseminate information with at best dubious consent of FB users and with little idea about who was pulling the strings? 

 

If they did, then it was a problem then and it's a problem now IMO.

I hope you read the article because the answer is yes.

 

This is one of the stanzas, "Consciously or otherwise, the individual volunteer will be injecting all the information they store publicly on their Facebook page – home location, date of birth, interests and, crucially, network of friends – directly into the central Obama database."

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, NewEnglandFox said:

Started in 2012 and now we're here. But it's not a problem until the wrong side wins, right? Then it's a problem.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/feb/17/obama-digital-data-machine-facebook-election

I take no sides in US politics, frankly I find both quite disturbing. If I’d known and understood it then my opinion would have been identical. We need to understand this, condemn it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Strokes said:

I take no sides in US politics, frankly I find both quite disturbing. If I’d known and understood it then my opinion would have been identical. We need to understand this, condemn it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

I see Cambridge Analytical as the straw that broke the camels back and I'm all for murdering this camel. But because of hyper-partisanism we have a good amount of people that convince themselves it's not us that's bad, it's the other side. We need to do a better job of being objective and the full scope of what is actually going on.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, NewEnglandFox said:

I see Cambridge Analytical as the straw that broke the camels back and I'm all for murdering this camel. But because of hyper-partisanism we have a good amount of people that convince themselves it's not us that's bad, it's the other side. We need to do a better job of being objective and the full scope of what is actually going on.

 

Yeah fair enough, I’m just pointing out not all of us condemning this are doing so for point scoring. I do find this concerning and I do think it’s subverting democracy, regardless of who stands to gain.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, NewEnglandFox said:

I hope you read the article because the answer is yes.

 

This is one of the stanzas, "Consciously or otherwise, the individual volunteer will be injecting all the information they store publicly on their Facebook page – home location, date of birth, interests and, crucially, network of friends – directly into the central Obama database."

 

 

 

 

There is then a question of what they did with that information, and I did read that paragraph but understood there was ambiguity in that regard, whereas with CA there was a reasonably obvious attempt to convince a voter to vote for their candidate or not vote at all.

 

However, yes - this needs to be looked at from a nonpartisan viewpoint as pretty wrong IMO and I hope that my OP laid that out clearly as that was my intent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, leicsmac said:

There is then a question of what they did with that information, and I did read that paragraph but understood there was ambiguity in that regard, whereas with CA there was a reasonably obvious attempt to convince a voter to vote for their candidate or not vote at all.

 

However, yes - this needs to be looked at from a nonpartisan viewpoint as pretty wrong IMO and I hope that my OP laid that out clearly as that was my intent.

I take immense issue with your OP. You're entire bit of introducing Cambridge Analytica with  Brietbart, Bannon, Trump, and Brexit is a scummy tactic to stigmatize this discussion to your leftist politics. That's not a presentation of a non-partisanism so frankly I don't believe you hoped to present it in a non-partisan way.

 

Any research on this topic besides through lovely partisan leftist sources would have revealed to you that this is a systemic problem but all you had time for in your OP is Cambridge Analytica. The rightys were plastering an MIT Review cover that said "Big Data Will Save Politics," tweets from Carol Davidson who worked for the Obama campaign, and old articles like the one I posted about what the Obama did.

 

Yet you still want to find excuses for the left.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, NewEnglandFox said:

I take immense issue with your OP. You're entire bit of introducing Cambridge Analytica with  Brietbart, Bannon, Trump, and Brexit is a scummy tactic to stigmatize this discussion to your leftist politics. That's not a presentation of a non-partisanism so frankly I don't believe you hoped to present it in a non-partisan way.

 

Any research on this topic besides through lovely partisan leftist sources would have revealed to you that this is a systemic problem but all you had time for in your OP is Cambridge Analytica. The rightys were plastering an MIT Review cover that said "Big Data Will Save Politics," tweets from Carol Davidson who worked for the Obama campaign, and old articles like the one I posted about what the Obama did.

 

Yet you still want to find excuses for the left.

 

I introduced that in this fashion because it has become much bigger news now, what CA did represented a game-changer regarding democratic subversion in my own opinion and, though part of a systemic issue (notice the bit on "yellow journalism" I included?) was different to what the Obama campaign did in the level of sophistication used, as well as the possibility of having a bearing on the successes for the right in 2016, but yes - I could and should have mentioned that as a stage of evolution on the road that got us here. If you believe that such methods used by CA were the same as the Obama campaign and they played as much of a part (how big or little that might be, very much up for question) in his winning campaign, then you're welcome to that view and quite frankly even with the information we have it's pretty difficult to ascertain which of us might be right as the issue is so murky. 

 

However, please don't mistake me highlighting this now as a partisan look and suggest that I would be happy with a left-wing campaign using similar tactics in a similar way in order to achieve electoral success. I most categorically would not be. Winning through deceit and manipulation is no win at all and those ends never justify the means, regardless of your ideology.

Edited by leicsmac

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


 

Quote

 

In two news articles last week (“Revealed: the ties that bound Canadian data firm to Leave campaign in referendum” and “Brexit insider claims Vote Leave team ‘may have broken law’”), we are happy to clarify that we did not intend to suggest that AggregateIQ is a direct part and/or the Canadian branch of Cambridge Analytica, or that it has been involved in the exploitation of Facebook data, or otherwise been involved in any of the alleged wrongdoing made against Cambridge Analytica. Further, we did not intend to suggest that AIQ secretly and unethically co-ordinated with Cambridge Analytica on the EU referendum. We are happy to make clear that AggregateIQ is and has always been 100% Canadian owned and operated.



Matthew Elliot is a former, not current, chief executive and director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, and was a founder of Business for Britain and BrexitCentral, where he is editor at large, not chief executive. Shahmir Sanni works for the TaxPayers’ Alliance as digital campaign manager, but not on pro-Brexit social media messaging (“In a country where my decision as a voter matters, this is a huge deal”, the New Review, last week).

Victoria, on Vancouver Island, is the capital of British Columbia. Our description “provincial Canadian city” was an awkward compression, not an intended slight. Victoria is 4,760 miles from London, not 2,300 (“Revealed: the ties that bound Canadian data firm to Leave campaign in referendum”, News, last week)

 

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/31/for-the-record-observer-corrections

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, leicsmac said:

Good to see the Grauniad being held to account.

 

It still is a wonder just how deep the rabbit hole goes on this one, though.

Yeah it’s inevitable it extends further than the presidential election but people/organisations should refrain from jumping the gun. The guardian have shown themselves up here big time and if the referendum is later implicated people will be dubious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, Strokes said:

Yeah it’s inevitable it extends further than the presidential election but people/organisations should refrain from jumping the gun. The guardian have shown themselves up here big time and if the referendum is later implicated people will be dubious.

Agreed. That they've dropped the ball on this one makes them less credible if they then uncover genuine bad stuff going on and report it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, MattP said:

So connecting this to the Leave vote was on page one on Sunday as a huge exclusive and the apology for it all being complete bollocks is on page 50.

 

Sounds about right.

If the Daily Mail had done that they’d still be some wiping froth from their mouths.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest MattP
3 minutes ago, Strokes said:

If the Daily Mail had done that they’d still be some wiping froth from their mouths.

3 million hashtags and a demanded boycott.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Strokes said:

If the Daily Mail had done that they’d still be some wiping froth from their mouths.

s-697924ec7279f2e7d088f41cf874223e9cbce8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, MattP said:

So connecting this to the Leave vote was on page one on Sunday as a huge exclusive and the apology for it all being complete bollocks is on page 50.

 

Sounds about right.

 

3 hours ago, Strokes said:

If the Daily Mail had done that they’d still be some wiping froth from their mouths.

Yep. Sounds about right - from the Grauniad, the Mail, from pretty much any popular paper.

 

TBH they should all have to print retractions on the same page using the same space as the original story.

 

Has it been proven conclusively one way or another that CA did or did not have their fingers in the pie re the EU referendum or a link with with Vote Leave? The correction seems to be regarding the makeup of a different company and the current placement of a couple of people, rather than that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Its just a modern "News Ltd"

 

The sheep have been farmed long before even Rupert figured it out.

 

You chose your news provider based on your leanings and opinions, they serve to reinforce what you believe and you feel good about being "right" (correct).

 

Facebook/CA choose it for you, but the result is the same.

 

 

Edited by ozleicester
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...