B1 Intermediate UK 450 Folder Collection
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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
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
- 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
- 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
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.
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Cambridge Analytica: Whistleblower reveals data grab of 50 million Facebook profiles

450 Folder Collection
Huahua published on March 28, 2018
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