The Guardian has published an undoubtably terrifying investigation into Cambridge Analytica (CA), the ‘Big Data‘ analytics company who allegedly “hijacked” the democratic process to ensure that outcomes of the Brexit EU Referendum and the 2016 American Election. And they accomplished this by using data primarily sourced from the online interactions between users on social networks including Facebook.
According to the article, CA – a company with links to the former Brexit leader Nigel Farage, American President Donald Trump, and Trump’s controversial senior adviser Steve Bannon – offered to help the Brexit campaign with its use of “psychological warfare” (or “psyops” for short).
The article quotes a former CA insider who describes “psyops” as a tool used by the military “to effect mass sentiment change”. Governments in the past have employed CA’s services to win the ‘hearts and minds’ of occupied civilian populations and “win elections in the kind of developing countries that don’t have many rules.”
CA’s strategies include “finding ‘persuadable’ voters [who are] high in neuroticism” and presenting them “with images of immigrants “swamping” the country”. In the 2016 American election, where voting wasn’t compulsory, CA also focused on concocting “‘voter disengagement'” … “to persuade Democrat voters to stay at home”.
So, in summary, if you don’t consider yourself to be a neurotic person, this article should fix that for you. So who’s thinking of deleting their Facebook accounts?