Hey Everybody and happy Sunday!
In case you didn’t notice, this post was scheduled incorrectly, and ended up posting on Saturday, when it was incomplete. I’ve done this a couple times before, because people make mistakes and mess things up… and I’m no exception 😂
To be honest, I’m surprised that I didn’t do this more throughout the month, considering how crazy it’s been, so good job me 😅
Anyways, enough about that, let’s talk about the Great Hack!
The Great Hack is a documentary on Netflix that discusses Cambridge Analytica, a data mining company who assisted Donald Trump in his campaign in 2016, as well as the pro-Brexit team in the United Kingdom (although they try repeatedly throughout the film to deny having any involvement in that campaign). In the documentary, they focus primarily on Trump’s campaign in 2016, since they were more involved in that, and had influence in that election more so than Brexit. According to the documentary, Cambridge Analytica became more of a “propaganda machine” working in the favor of Trump, to help secure his election victory. Cambridge Analytica has also been linked with other political campaigns around the world, and it was interesting seeing how this information influenced the campaign results.
Essentially, Cambridge Analytica used data from a survey they posted on Facebook to create voter profiles to decide whether or not you are a “persuadable” and to target you with ads to have you vote for their candidate. Part of the problem is that these ads weren’t always truthful; they were more focused on getting the “persuadable” to cross over to their side. The ads more so painted a picture of reality in which the “persuadable” would want to vote for Trump. This data was also accessed in what could be deemed as an illegal manner, as Cambridge Analytica not only collected the profile of the person who completed the survey, but also their friends, and sometimes friends of friends, even if that person didn’t agree or was even aware of their data being accessed in this manner. Another reason why Cambridge Analytica is under scrutiny is because the technology they are using to access this data is used by the British government for military purposes, and therefore is not supposed to be used by other entities without permission of the government (which, of course, Cambridge Analytica did not have these permissions).
At the time this was all happening, David Caroll, a professor of digital media studies, legally challenged Cambridge Analytica to hand over all the data they had collected him from this time. In the end, they didn’t hand it over, most likely due to the fact that the company went under as a result of the government investigations conducted.
The Great Hack mostly peaked my interest, because Facebook had been called for a hearing by Congress as a result of the data from their website being used in this manner, and recently Facebook had just faced Congress again for a hearing on a different manner completely. I also found it interesting because Barack Obama was also brought up a few times throughout the film as one of the top executives at Cambridge Analytica, Brittany Kaiser, was an intern who worked with the his campaign in the 2008 election.
I highly recommend watching this documentary, as it gives a more in depth view of what was going on behind the scenes during the Cambridge Analytica investigations, as well as how the data mining process was used to create the political ads for the company’s clients. It’s a great starting point if you want to look more into what happened during the 2016 election concerning Trump and his campaign.
If you would like to read more about The Great Hack and the Cambridge Analytica situation you can do so here:
‘The Great Hack’ Terrified Sundance Audiences, and Then the Documentary Got Even Scarier
Journalist Carole Cadwalladr, an investigative journalist who worked on this case, also gave a Ted Talk about the subject of Cambridge Analytica using Facebook’s data during the Brexit campaign. If you’re interested in hearing more about that, check out the video below:
On that note, that is all I have for today, everyone! Thank you for reading, and I will see you tomorrow with a new post!
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