Mark Zuckerberg’s site has banned a data analysis company owned by Robert Mercer and used by Donald Trump from advertising and administrating client pages on the Facebook platform.
Founded in 2013 as an offshoot geared toward American clients, Cambridge Analytica has worked with dozens of political campaigns including both Ted Cruz and Donald Trump during the 2016 election cycle. As well, they worked to promote the Brexit cause. Read on for a quick rundown followed by discussion.
First Mistake: Conservative Firm Relying On A Gay Canadian Vegan
Christopher Wylie, 28, was part of the founding team for the offshoot of Cambridge Analytica from its British parent company SCL. He is now speaking with media about his role in the downfall of the company which he now calls “Steve Bannon’s psychological mindfuck tool.”
Starting in 2017, Wylie started leaking information about data holdings held by CA to The Guardian paper. Broadly speaking, Wylie was concerned that the marketing firm, with its profiles on 230 million Americans, was turning its sights to working with the Pentagon after winning contracts with the State Department. The structures partly built by Wylie were now being used for causes in which he had no faith. Previously, Wylie was happy to work for the Liberal Party in Canada and introduce them to Obama’s national director of targeting.
It must be said that Wylie is no angel of privacy. At 24, when he started working with CA, the Canadian man intended for his PhD to focus on the harvest of information from millions of Facebook profiles in order to forecast fashion trends. This would tie in with information to build up psychological and political profiles to create a more complete picture of the t-shirt buying public. It’s this same ‘breaking’ of Facebook that made him useful at CA.
There are more details and I encourage you to find them as you see fit. I believe that this media bomb is another attempt to delegitimize the Presidency of Donald J. Trump — the narrative that’s being pushed isn’t about ethical use of Facebook data, it’s that the Trump campaign ‘illegally’ used information. The details will be refined over the next few days as more campaign staffers from the left weigh in.
Wylie didn’t give a hoot about data collection practices while the election was still running. His clay feet turned cold only after Trump took office.
On Friday night, a Facebook-approved post explained that a psychology professor named Dr. Aleksandr Kogan was a part of an app called “thisisyourdigitallife” that quizzed the user regarding their psychological profile. Facebook suggests that Dr. Kogan ‘lied’ to Facebook because the information was then passed off to Cambridge Analytica without explicitly telling users. The quiz is similar to Jordan Peterson’s “Big Five Aspects Quiz” which costs $10 because it doesn’t kick your info back to data collection companies.
Between the quiz and the information gleaned from your Facebook likes, CA was able to learn oodles about the psychology of supporting Trump. Facebook claims that 270,000 people consented to the app, allowing a firm called Global Science Research insight into likes and dislikes. GSR has previously been contracted by CA to scrape information from Facebook, and CA now had their information.
Facebook reports that the app was banned as far back as 2015 and CA claims to have deleted all relevant data, but reports from Mr. Wylie indicate that the data was held back and used. So, Cambridge Analytica is being admonished by Facebook.
Long story short, at just after 6pm local California time, Facebook announced that CA had been suspended from buying ads or administrating pages for clients.
We have suspended Cambridge Analytica from our platform for a clear violation our policies. They cannot buy ads or administer its clients' pages. https://t.co/YIJ8MF4XI6
— Boz (@boztank) March 17, 2018
Two things worth watching: Market valuation, and Christopher Wylie’s account getting banned.
Facebook down almost 5% this morning in the wake of Friday's Cambridge Analytica suspension pic.twitter.com/2WZYjMgpjf
— Michael Del Moro (@MikeDelMoro) March 19, 2018
Wylie believes that Facebook ought to “accept some share of responsibility” but such is the fate of a whistleblower.
— Christopher Wylie (@chrisinsilico) March 18, 2018
Cambridge Analytica Responds
Privacy is the major concern of millennials and to a lesser extent the subgroup of Gen Xers who grew up on Apple IIs. There is no excuse to be ignorant of how privacy works online. For example, I have worked on several different conservative websites, which means that Facebook and Google know my IP address, and the IPs of the people who released access to my accounts in the first place. Despite never having given out the names of my various employers, the vast information-sucking web definitely knows where I get my paychecks.
Because Facebook knows the IPs used to access its pages (that is, unless you buy a new computer and go to a new IP address) we will find out what other campaigns and media companies are associated with Cambridge Analytica because their Facebook presence will tank, because all of the laptops, cell phones and desktops connected to the campaigns have been recorded.
We shouldn’t focus anger on Wylie for whistleblowing as he sees fit. Breitbart, for one, already cultivates a reputation for garbage tactics and stealing content. Its redeeming quality is its SEO powerhouse under the hood, and the lopsided salaries paid to writers compared to every other right wing site. There’s no shame in finding garbage in the right-wing-o-sphere. I just wish we’d be the ones to clean our own rooms first.
I can’t blame the man for participating in sabotage — what conservative wouldn’t want to leave a mess if he found himself working with communists? It was a mistake for a conservative-minded firm to keep on key people who do not also share a conservative vision.
Free speech has experienced a downgrade — Millennials value privacy concerns above the value of speaking freely. Privacy is the new non-partisan ideal. It’s not such an odd shift. If you can speak openly, anonymously, privately — you’re still enjoying a slice of free speech. I disagree, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong on this count.
Despite overwhelming left-wing screeching, social media didn’t change the culture of America. Trump didn’t magic Pepe memes into the engrams of the populace. Trump won fair and square. The memes were an outgrowth. Seven more years!
The fall of Cambridge Analytica leaves a hulking, unguarded hero’s portion for dinky one-on-one consultants like me. Check out our full suite at Warfare Media if you need a wholesome, conservative team of nerds and messengers.
All political parties have reams of information on voter habits; these days they’re more sophisticated. Computer generated documentation is much cleaner than the door knocking sheets I once used. Potential voters are still rated with smiley faces and sad faces in some districts.
Facebook’s terms of service are not necessarily the law; ‘breaking’ Facebook will not necessarily result in criminal charges against Cambridge honchos. The information wasn’t necessarily used ‘illegally.’
One professor from New York plans to sue Facebook to find out what they know about him. David Carroll will surely be surprised to find out that they remembered everything he uploaded to their site. Surprisingly, if you constantly share articles from the New York Times on poor people in Tibet and prefer angry reacts to Trump stories, Facebook will know that you’re probably don’t like gun rights and love free health care for all.
If you don’t want to be profiled, don’t use Facebook. If you don’t mind that your information is being used to help Donald Trump win elections, then go right ahead.
Pursuant to the grander topic of this website, conservatives have not discovered a reliable source of hiring beyond word of mouth. Similarly, there are no portals for hiring the skilled veterans who are being retrained in computer programming. Most funding in the conservative sphere goes toward e-celeb promoted free speech platforms and events featuring e-celebs. Developing a platform that promoted conservatives has too many snags to mention here, but most of the opposition to the notion is due to fear of being found out as conservative. Until the unicorn platform exists, the best bet for conservatives is to build a web presence, cross link between similar websites and provide recommendations either publicly or on the sly.
I’m filing Cambridge Analytica’s threat of a death rattle under my belief that political websites, firms, meme machines and likewise should all be created, hired for, fundraised and administered ad hoc, because long standing installations are a target.
James Damore — he of the Google lawsuit — has only raised $47,000 of his $100,000 goal to file a lawsuit against his former employers for discrimination. Right wingers have been trained to expect pretty women as the face of online happenings. James is not a pretty woman. But pretty faces sink into obscurity and in five years we’ll have a new crop (looks like redheads are taking the place of blondes — perhaps I should discuss my peroxide habit with my hairdresser?) and we’ll be howling at our lost chance to drag Google into a court of law to finally spill the secrets into their left-wing machinations.
This piece isn’t the full story of Cambridge Analytica. Bing it if you want to know more.
This isn’t over yet.