The Great Hack
By now most Facebook users know their personal data is being used to sell them stuff.But they are less likely to realize how it is also used to influence their voting.In 2016 the British data research company Cambridge Analytica cunningly harvested information from millions of Facebook users and their friends via an innocuous-seeming “personality” questionnaire. They put this gigantic database to lucrative work with machine-tooled marketing campaigns for Trump and the Brexiters. Focusing on carefully selected psycho-profiled targets, they were able to push persuadables buttons and tip them over the edge with Facebook ads that popped up intimately on their smartphones, miraculously confirming their prejudices, playing on their insecurities, magnifying and warping their worries. One wonders whether we can ever have free elections again.
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