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NYT, Guardian – How Trump Consultants Exploited the Facebook Data of Millions

During the election cycle in 2016, my FB page was routinely slammed with hateful and biased ads. This made no sense at the time, as I was not affiliated with any groups online, I did not opine about the candidates, and I did not “like” or “share” posts, and I do not use apps. I did not consent to providing any information to a third party, nor did I take a survey or a quiz. Although I repeatedly adjusted my settings to increase the site’s purported privacy and security settings, the content continued to appear. I limited my use of FB as I was unable to ignore the insufferable bombardment of content that was in no small way disgusting and intolerable. But still the spamming continued – and it escalated into a crescendo of vile propaganda that continued after the election. It abated, and then, seemed to have ended. Is this coincidence or is there a relationship to the issues with FB that have surfaced with growing media coverage, Congressional hearings, and escalating user push-back. The New York Times, the Guardian and the Observer provide investigative reporting, and it adds up to a monumental issue for FB, for social media, for Americans, the global community, and for democracy.

  • Data Leak Puts Facebook Under Intensifying Scrutiny on Two Continents – “Lawmakers in the United States and Britain demanded on Sunday that Facebook explain how a political data firm with links to President Trump’s 2016 campaign was able to harvest private data from more than 50 million Facebook profiles without the social network alerting those whose information was taken. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, a Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, went so far as to demand that Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, appear before her panel to explain “what Facebook knew about misusing data from 50 million Americans in order to target political advertising and manipulate voters.” The calls followed reports on Saturday in The New York Times and The Observer of London that Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm founded by Stephen K. Bannon and Robert Mercer, the wealthy Republican donor, had used the Facebook data to develop methods that it claimed could identify the personalities of individual American voters and influence their behavior. The firm’s so-called psychographic modeling underpinned its work for the Trump campaign in 2016, though many have questioned the effectiveness of its techniques…”
  • The Guardian – How Cambridge Analytica turned Facebook ‘likes’ into a lucrative political tool – Cambridge Analytica: how 50m Facebook records were hijacked “The algorithm used in the Facebook data breach trawled though personal data for information on sexual orientation, race, gender – and even intelligence and childhood trauma…five years ago psychology researchers showed that far more complex traits could be deduced from patterns invisible to a human observer scanning through profiles. Just a few apparently random “likes” could form the basis for disturbingly complex character assessments…”
  • Whistleblower Christoper Wylie interview with The Guardian:
  • Whistleblower Christopher Wylie interview with Channel 4 News:
  • Christopher Wylie Suspended by . For blowing the whistle. On something they have known privately for 2 years.”
  • How to Make a Clean Break With the Clingiest Social Networks – “…the biggest networks have made it overly complicated to delete your account. But if you are set on getting rid of them, here’s what you’ll have to do.”
  • The Atlantic – What Took Facebook So Long? “Scholars have been sounding the alarm about data-harvesting firms for nearly a decade. The latest Cambridge Analytica scandal shows it may be too late to stop them.”

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