How Cambridge Analytica Weaponized Social Media Platforms
Before political parties and their leaders weaponized social media tools, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was asked if user data on his platform was at risk. It had answered unequivocally “No”, adding that there was no possibility of its consumers’ data being accessed or “inappropriately shared” on a large scale. It was denied by the great Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
Netflix documentary ‘The Great Hack’ revealed the shady history of Cambridge Analytica, a now-defunct UK-based political consultancy firm, and its role in influencing US voters in the 2016 presidential election , who brought Donald Trump to power, by accessing the data of 87 million Facebook users.
It was two Cambridge Analytica whistleblowers, Brittany Kaiser and Christopher Wylie, who revealed the dark secrets of their CEO Alexander Nix.
Cambridge Analytica has 5,000 data points on every American that were undetectable to anyone but the company’s data scientists. Wylie, 24, was director of research at Cambridge Analytica for a year and a half, and he witnessed how the company combined psychological research with the private Facebook data of 87 million users to create a invisible weapon with the power to change what American voters perceived. as real in the 2016 presidential elections due to Russian interference.
When the United Kingdom (UK) surprised the world by voting to leave the European Union (EU), Wylie realized it was time to expose the associates. “The Cambridge Analytica story shows how our identities and behaviors have become commodities in high-stakes data trading,” says Wylie. “The companies that control the flow of information are some of the most powerful in the world, and the algorithms they have designed in secret are shaping minds in ways previously unimaginable.”
The documentary responds to our deepest apprehension that social media platforms designed to connect people have become weapons and are widely used to influence free and fair elections around the world, especially in India.
This global data colonization campaign has also affected India, which has around 500 million WhatsApp users, more than 300 million on Facebook, and millions more on other social media platforms. We’ve seen how targeted efforts reach voters through many platforms during elections, and how fake news spreads like wildfire through WhatsApp. Political parties worked around the clock to create election-specific content such as issue-based memes, jokes, GIFs and short-form films to flood various social media channels and attract millions of voters. . Some political parties have employed social media “warriors” to reach audiences through digital channels.
According to social media specialist Anoop Mishra, “they work around the clock as political news aggregators, creating hot stuff for social media trolls.” According to Mishra, political parties understand that the more fraudulent and misleading content they release to the public during elections, the more viral it will go. “The more popular fake content becomes, the more effective it will be.” “Most people don’t check the authenticity of content before they pass it on,” he observed.