Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower Describes Attack on Social Media

March 19, 2018

Big puzzle piece in the Trump/Russia scandal dropping over the weekend.
For quick outline, see above short interview from the (!) Today show.
More below.

ThinkProgress:

In an unprecedented move, Facebook announced it is suspending the political data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, from the social media site.

Cambridge Analytica said it helped the Trump campaign pull off its narrow win in key swing states by psychologically profiling millions of voters using data from Facebook, so those voters could be microtargeted with messages tailored and tested to persuade them. Now it turns out that much of that data was obtained fraudulently.

The firm “harvested private information from the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users without their permission,” according to a major New York Times investigation published Saturday, “making it one of the largest data leaks in the social network’s history.”

Cambridge Analytica, which is backed by billionaire conservative donor Robert Mercer and has former Trump strategist Steve Bannon on its board, is already under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller for possible connections to Russian interference in the election. It’s also under investigation by the UK Parliament for potential violations of data privacy and claims it did illegal work for the pro-Brexit campaign.

18 Responses to “Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower Describes Attack on Social Media”

  1. Keith McClary Says:

    In order to send out all those targeted messages and spread fake news, Cambridge Analytica would need some sort of … troll farm.


    • That is the beauty of the program, basically automated. Just select parameters on the dashboard for a particular message and bingo.

      • Keith McClary Says:

        But “the Russians” don’t have this advanced automated technology, so Putin had to hire a bunch of trolls.
        But then, where did “the Russians” get the advanced analytics to target American voters?

        Occam’s Razor suggests that Cambridge Analytica (backed by a right-wing US billionaire) spent a couple of $millions to hire a Troll Farm, as they bragged about doing in Kenya.

        Why would they hire a troll farm in Russia? If it was in US/UK/Europe it would be subject to exposure and investigation. Maybe they could have hired trolls in, say, Nigeria, but then the tweets would all begin with “Esteemed Sirs and Madams …”.


        • Maybe you should read the articles,
          There are other dramatic documents in Wylie’s stash, including a pitch made by Cambridge Analytica to Lukoil, Russia’s second biggest oil producer. In an email dated 17 July 2014, about the US presidential primaries, Nix wrote to Wylie: “We have been asked to write a memo to Lukoil (the Russian oil and gas company) to explain to them how our services are going to apply to the petroleum business. Nix said that “they understand behavioural microtargeting in the context of elections” but that they were “failing to make the connection between voters and their consumers”. The work, he said, would be “shared with the CEO of the business”, a former Soviet oil minister and associate of Putin, Vagit Alekperov.

          “It didn’t make any sense to me,” says Wylie. “I didn’t understand either the email or the pitch presentation we did. Why would a Russian oil company want to target information on American voters?”

          Mueller’s investigation traces the first stages of the Russian operation to disrupt the 2016 US election back to 2014, when the Russian state made what appears to be its first concerted efforts to harness the power of America’s social media platforms, including Facebook. And it was in late summer of the same year that Cambridge Analytica presented the Russian oil company with an outline of its datasets, capabilities and methodology. The presentation had little to do with “consumers”. Instead, documents show it focused on election disruption techniques. The first slide illustrates how a “rumour campaign” spread fear in the 2007 Nigerian election – in which the company worked – by spreading the idea that the “election would be rigged”. The final slide, branded with Lukoil’s logo and that of SCL Group and SCL Elections, headlines its “deliverables”: “psychographic messaging”.
          https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/17/data-war-whistleblower-christopher-wylie-faceook-nix-bannon-trump

        • Sir Charles Says:

          Below the workplace of some guys I have had to deal with:

          Also, a lot of trolls are working from the US and A. The connections are tighter than you may think. No wonder. The motives are the same: oil & gas


  2. The thing is they are about manipulating people as Wylie described it to the Guardian, Steven Bannons Mindfuck tool.
    This is marketed to anyone with the money to pay to get the result they want, and it can be clandestine with no connection to any political party.
    It has been sold to the State Department and the Pentagon is interested.
    CA actually has detailed personal data and profiles on 230 Million Americans – they have been buying up commercial data, rewards programs, registrations (animal, voting, cars, guns, any form of licence), age, sex and orientation, marital status, children, income, wealth, Car details (Buyers of US cars tend to be Trump supporters), pets religion and affiliations. Any personal data there is.

    A very long read, but background from the man who developed the personality profiling methodolgy though to Kogan and SCL and CA and election manipulation worldwide

    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/mg9vvn/how-our-likes-helped-trump-win


  3. In one of the interviews, he says that they made fake news websites so they could link to them. Great – so they target people on facebook and give them fake news linked back to a fake site. Just great. I thought independents were putting up the fake news sites. I have a gun nut friend from high school, and he sure posted plenty of fake news from fake sites. Seems some people really cannot tell the difference, and even though I’d point it out to him time and again, he kept falling for these sites.


  4. It may appear OT, but it is Spooky. On two levels
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/spotlight/news/article.cfm?c_id=1504095&objectid=12016626
    Done it again? The Simpsons predict Stephen Hawking’s fate 19 years early
    and the Spooky bit which wasn’t picked up by the author
    The eerie link was uncovered this weekend as producers aired the 1999 episode – entitled
    They Saved Lisa’s Brain –
    in which Hawking stars, as a tribute to his death on Wednesday 14 March.

    In the episode, Hawking saves Lisa from the power-hungry Springfield chapter of Mensa

    And at about the time of his death the brain eating CA and it’s cabal of Mensa geniuses was exposed, but can we be saved from them without Hawkings

    Level 2
    But one of the most famous, involve The Simpsons accurately predicting the fact that then-reality TV personality Donald Trump would become president of the United States

    Back in 2000, the show made that prediction during the ‘Bart to the Future’ episode.
    Trump was later referenced in another clip called “Trumptastic Voyage.”
    The iconic cartoon’s creator, Matt Groening, said: “Trump was of course the most absurd placeholder joke name that we could think of at the time, and that’s still true. It’s beyond satire.”

    Dan Greaney, a writer for the Simpsons, also told The Hollywood Reporter that the clip had a dark message behind it.
    He said: “It was a warning to America. That just seemed like the logical last stop before hitting bottom.
    “It was pitched because it was consistent with the vision of America going insane.”
    The cartoon foretold a Trump presidency in a surreal episode where Bart is given a window into the future – and found a country brought to its knees by financial mismanagement and a crime wave ushered in by Trump.
    The episode’s alternate universe reveals that Trump, who will be 84 in 2030, left the country in an impossible amount of debt, and reliant on foreign aid from Europe and China.

    Spooky

  5. Sir Charles Says:

    You can search for “Facebook data storm wipes nearly $37bn off market value” to read the full Financial Times article.

    EU lawmakers joined their UK and US counterparts by saying they would investigate reports that Cambridge Analytica, a data analysis firm employed by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, mined the personal data of 50m users to create profiles to target them in elections. The reports in The New York Times and The Observer say the company broke Facebook’s rules by using data collected solely for research.

    Cambridge Analytica faced further questions after an undercover investigation by the UK’s Channel 4 news showed video of Alexander Nix, its chief executive, explaining that the company could use women or offers of bribes to entrap politicians.

    The 6.8 per cent fall in Facebook shares, which ended day at $172.56, spread across the so-called Fangs — large tech companies that have rallied sharply in recent years. Amazon, Netflix and Apple all fell more than 1.5 per cent while Google’s parent Alphabet lost 3.2 per cent.>/i>

  6. Sir Charles Says:

    Hah. No bots needed for this woman on Fakebook => Republican Rep. Martha McSally forgot to sign out of her own Facebook account before she posted fake compliments to herself.

  7. Sir Charles Says:

    Folks, this is going to become big here in Europe. The British government wants to sue Cambridge Analytica. The European Council is accusing Fakebook of data protection infringement.

    => Revealed: Trump’s election consultants filmed saying they use bribes and sex workers to entrap politicians


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