In New Memoirs, Two Whistle-Blowers Offer Details From Inside Cambridge Analytica

Christopher Wylie’s “Mind____” and Brittany Kaiser’s “Targeted” tell of how the company harvested data from millions of Facebook users and attempted to influence voter behavior.

Comments: 6

  1. The photographs of Wylie and Kaiser match your critiques: Wylie looks like he's confronting the truth head-on and Kaiser looks coy and satisfied.

  2. I watched the Great Hack this weekend. Something is off about both of them.

  3. I admit that I only know what I've read in the papers, but I have to ask. Cambridge Analytica took information from huge numbers of Facebook users without their knowledge or consent, and Facebook either colluded or just didn't care. Why hasn't anyone been charged with a crime here? Nix and Zuckerberg seem like a good place to start.

  4. I have not read these books yet, but all the publicity on Cambridge Analytica seems to me to give only half the story: how the electorate is divided into target groups, and these target groups receive distinct messages. What is missing is the manipulation used through these distinct messages. I have noticed the use of the distinct fears of these target groups through the methods of social psychology, and in particular of Terror Management Theory (see for instance Pyszczynski, Greenberg, Solomon, Psychological Review, 1999). In particular fear of death, but several other fears (fear of losing one's job, fear of a different race), can be used to manipulate and change, in a controllable way!, subconscious attitudes towards religion and politics. The result is the clear fact that a large part of the electorate massively votes against its own interest. For those familiar with TMT, the background music on Trump's latest rally in Minneapolis (available on YouTube) is very revealing: it is all about death. Those scientists /psychologists /marketeers that take part in such manipulation of the public should consider the ethics of their actions. Saying that they need the money, such as one of the authors here, is not enough.

  5. Whether they're pure of motive or conflicted by doubt or guilt, whistleblowers tread a lonely path. Credit to both these authors for turning over the tea leaves for the rest of us. Without their accounts, and those of others who may follow, we'd be struggling to piece together the dark narratives perpetrated by Cambridge Analytica and its ilk.

  6. A Ph.D in fashion-trend forecasting? I grieve for the future of the academy. Glad, given my age, that I won't live to see this dystopia in full bloom.