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  • - In an era of big data and fake news political

  • leaders are changing and so too the way they campaign. What you post on social

  • media is being watched being used and what you see is crafted like never

  • before and bestriding this vast digital

  • frontier is Cambridge Analytica a company which trawls personal data to

  • try to predict then alter voter behavior. A company which claims it was pivotal in

  • getting Donald Trump elected - but which today extraordinarily has been suspended

  • from Facebook. Through this former insider we can reveal it involves a data

  • grab of not just hundreds of thousands of user profiles but around 50 million

  • and accusing Cambridge Analytica of this and more their former director of

  • research Chris Wylie.

  • - if we look at what Cambridge Analytica does online it's

  • coercive people don't know that it's being done to them.

  • - It's time says Wylie

  • for us to know more about the methods of Cambridge Analytica

  • - Computers are

  • better at understanding who you are as a person than even your co-workers or your

  • friends

  • This is an information war he says - social media is the battleground

  • and you are the target

  • it weighs on me that I played a pivotal role

  • in setting up a company that I think has done a lot of harm to the democratic

  • process in a lot of countries

  • We begin this story in Cambridge it's 2013 and at

  • the university psychometric center they're delving into the world of

  • Facebook and psychology into what glimpses into the soul might your

  • Facebook Likes revealed cutting edge research which Chris Wiley was quick to

  • spot and now helps explain

  • - On social media you curate yourself you put so

  • much information about who you are in one single place so whenever you go and

  • you like something you are giving me a clue as to who you are as a person and

  • so all of this can be captured very easily and run through an algorithm that

  • learns who you are when you go to work right your co-workers only see one side

  • of you your friends only see one side of you

  • but a computer sees all kinds of sides of you and so we can get better than

  • human level accuracy at predicting your behaviour

  • -really

  • - yes absolutely

  • - some dispute that but for Chris Wiley then just 23 the notion was as seductive

  • as it was potentially lucrative - the company he worked for Strategic

  • Communications Laboratories or SCL specialized in psychological operations

  • for the military and for him Facebook was now the richest of canvases on which

  • to not only read minds but change them which is what brought Chris Wiley to the

  • attention of SEL client Steve Bannon then boss of the online magazine

  • Breitbart later Donald Trump's chief strategist

  • - What did Steve Bannon want

  • - Steve wanted weapons for his culture work that's what he wanted and that's

  • that we we offered him a way to accomplish what he wanted to do which

  • was which was changed the culture of America

  • - Bannon's big idea says Wiley was

  • this - could they replicate the academics work

  • profiling people's personalities on Facebook on a massive scale across the

  • American electorate they had the money from billionaire Republican backer

  • Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebecca. And through Chris Wiley they're

  • specialist Cambridge academic Aleksandr Kogan - already on Facebook permitted to

  • gather users data for research purposes but who now agreed to get much more and

  • share it commercially. The blueprint for the company which would become Cambridge

  • Analytica

  • - Kogan didn't make any money off of it he didn't he did it he did it

  • for free and what he got out of it was the giant data set and what CA got out

  • of it was also data everyone got data but Cambridge Analytica paid for it

  • directly - if you look here in the underlying source code -

  • - which which I

  • wouldn't normally see

  • - no you wouldn't normally see

  • - it worked like this

  • thousands of Facebook users were paid to download an app to fill out a

  • personality survey with their consent which in turn let Dr. Kogan capture the

  • users underlying data and then share it with Cambridge Analytica

  • - so very

  • simplistically you're going into the code behind the Facebook page you're

  • dragging out these ID numbers you're putting them into a into an algorithm

  • and we and outcomes a prediction of how you're likely to vote yes simple and

  • smart because the app didn't just mine the respondents data crucially it swept

  • up that of their friends to those who hadn't adjusted their privacy settings

  • imagine I go and ask you I say hey if I give you $1 $2 could you fill out the

  • survey for me just do it on this app and you say fine right

  • I don't just capture what your responses are I capture all of the information

  • about you from Facebook but also this app then crawls through your social

  • network and captures all of that data also so by you filling out my survey I

  • capture 300 records on average right and so that means that

  • all the sudden I only need to engage fifty thousand seventy thousand a

  • hundred thousand people to get a really big dataset really quickly and it's

  • scaled really quickly it we were able to get upwards of fifty million plus

  • Facebook records in the span of a couple months fifty million yeah over 50

  • million records from Facebook using this using this method and how many of those

  • people behind those profiles were aware that their profiles had been used in

  • this way almost none almost no and so claims Wiley began a Republican Big Data

  • gold rush with Steve Bannon alt-right ideologue later a Cambridge Analytica

  • vice president leading the charge should those Friends profiles have been used in

  • the way that they were I don't think so I think they you know it was a big

  • mistake to use this methods but why Facebook didn't you know make more

  • enquiries when they started seeing that you know tens of millions of records

  • were being pulled this way you know I don't know you'd have to ask Facebook

  • that but Facebook at least in a technical sense facilitated the project

  • because they they had applications that had these permissions in the first place

  • Facebook learned of this in 2015 and yet it's taken them until today to come out

  • publicly and say this never should have happened they've yet to acknowledge that

  • this involved around 50 million users instead talking of two hundred and

  • seventy thousand plus friends they've also been at pains to stress this wasn't

  • a data breach in the sense that users by consent and friends through their

  • default privacy settings agreed to Dr. Kogan capturing their data and they say

  • they've since improved their systems but Kogan according to Facebook lied to them

  • and violated their policies by passing on the data to Cambridge Analytica at the

  • time that you were taking this data off Aleksandr Kogan which was yeah

  • principally only for academic research purposes you

  • knew you were treading a very thin ethical line presumably I think I think

  • everyone I don't think I think everyone knew that you know we were waiting into

  • a grey area it'd be it was an instance of if you don't ask questions you won't

  • get an answer that you don't like Cambridge analytica rejects this

  • arguing they had assurances from dr. Kogan that his actions were in line with

  • Facebook's protocols Kogan in turn claims he had the right to use it for

  • commercial purposes they and Chris Wiley all assured Facebook sometime ago that

  • they deleted the data as requested but Facebook have now revealed some of

  • that data reportedly might still exist hence their dramatic decision to suspend

  • Cambridge analytica Alexander Kogan and Chris Wiley from Facebook while they

  • investigate

  • did you delete it immediately as I had already deleted it

  • I had when they sent me when they sent me the the the letter that you're

  • referring to I didn't have the data so did they check that you deleted the data

  • no they were just satisfied with the form the only the only contact that I

  • had was here's a forum fill it out and send it back and it's done so they took

  • your word for it that you had deleted the data of over 50 million Facebook

  • profiles yeah they didn't didn't do anything

  • aside from sign this form - so just how significant was this data anyway of no

  • use is Cambridge analytica's position fruitless is how their boss described

  • the project to MPs recently here in Westminster yet Chris Wiley claims it

  • was anything but and foreshadowed worse to come we spent almost a million

  • dollars doing this it wasn't some tiny pilot project it was the the core of

  • what Cambridge analytic I became it allowed us to to move into the the the

  • hearts and minds of American voters in a way that had never been done before

  • by the time Cambridge analytica had been hired by the Trump campaign - my

  • first hour in office those people are gone - they had profiles from numerous

  • datasets on more than 230 million Americans also Cambridge analytica

  • boast - this is real data from the Republican primary enabling them as

  • their boss Alexander Nix showed Channel four News two years ago to

  • micro-target different personality types with bespoke emotionally resonant

  • messages someone who's neurotic is someone who's quite emotional and might

  • respond in this case to a stimulus of fear from stimulating us Republican

  • campaigns to elections in Africa Asia and Beyond Cambridge analytica are now

  • the big data strategists with the big name some allege however with little

  • time for ethics among their number now the former insider who claims there's a

  • dangerous alchemy to Cambridge analytica's art - there is a lack of awareness it

  • is coercive people if I am studying you and I have enough information about you

  • because you've curated your entire self online and I capture that I can I can

  • anticipate what are your mental vulnerabilities what cognitive biases

  • might you display in certain situations but haven't invited I can imagine wait

  • that are you saying that Cambridge analytical lies in its political

  • messaging because that's something they would completely deny they they they

  • they knowingly misrepresent the truth in such a way that is conducive to their

  • objective what's your proof for that I was there we worked on we worked on all

  • kinds of experiments about what what what would what would lead a person from

  • A to B but if you're working on behalf of a political client you're allowed to

  • try and persuade voters persuade not manipulated about your message persuade

  • not manipulated there's a difference but I ask you what

  • the evidence for manipulation as opposed to trying to persuade this gets at the

  • heart of you know why is it that you're taking this psychological approach why

  • do you need to you know study neuroticism in people what's going to

  • make them fearful it is the the the you know what is the what is by pre I was

  • there I was there I set it up I was a research director like this is what it

  • is some people might say it's rank hypocrisy for you to sort of try and

  • claim the moral high ground now but at the time when you were involved you were

  • instrumental in all of this totally you yes I want to continue in fact you were

  • you were at the heart of it I was I was instrumental I was at the heart of it I

  • agree with you but I was naive I made a mistake I made a big mistake

  • and that's why I'm talking to you because the very least that I can do is

  • to own up to that mistake why is wilee speaking out now revenge perhaps

  • following an acrimonious legal dispute with Cambridge analytica after he left

  • not so he says its remorse at having been involved in the first place

  • Cambridge analytica denies Wiley's claims of a coercive manipulative and

  • untruthful approach dismissing dismissing these as pure fantasy

  • his legal fight with them they say has left him with an axe to grind

  • driven by malice and intent upon damaging the company a company which

  • they stress uses techniques similar to those other commercial agencies use but

  • I know that there is bad blood between you and Cambridge analytica - you had a

  • falling-out you know there was a legal dispute is this really about revenge - no

  • because if it was about revenge I could have done this years ago they tried to

  • sue me over you know their claims that I was somehow trying to steal their

  • clients or to somehow interfere with their contractual relationships with

  • other employees or what have you you know and we'll you know no I mean I

  • first of all like I don't to work for the alt-right the the notion

  • that I would want to somehow recreate Cambridge analytica is for me

  • personally absurd because why would I why would I why would I leave if I

  • wanted to recreate Cambridge Analytica I should have just stayed great but I didn't I

  • chose to leave he is the data scientist who helped weaponize the data who

  • embroiled in a growing facebook scandal now feels tainted by the new political

  • order he thinks he helped create but he knows all about the power a carefully

  • directed message can have he did it for Cambridge analytical back then just as

  • he's doing it against them now.

- In an era of big data and fake news political

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Cambridge Analytica: Whistleblower reveals data grab of 50 million Facebook profiles

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    Huahua posted on 2018/03/27
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