carlo von lynX on Wed, 21 Mar 2018 20:26:28 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> In the eye of the Cambridge Analytica storm

Could somebody please tell journalists and politicians
that this isn't the first time manipulation happens with
the help of Facebook?

On Wed, Mar 21, 2018 at 07:47:32PM +0100, Geert Lovink wrote:
> Is it an idea to organize a thousand bigger and smaller Facebook farewell parties? What’s for sure is that it really helps to do this out in the open, together.

I'm afraid this is just a good moment to buy Facebook shares.
I expect the fall-out to be comparable to BP and VW.

This is what I sent to the youbroketheinternet list.
You may find it useful:

	--- 8< ---

While these events obviously confirm the political
work that went into, the
things being said by Cambridge Analytica executives
and whistleblowers also affect all political activism
over the Internet and how opposition groups could be
dismantled psychologically if targeted with such
deeply unfair means -- only solid internal structures
and pervasive use of encryption can defend against
these developments. I transcribed the nasty bits of
the videos so you can easily cite them wherever you
find them useful. Both are original Channel 4 reports
that got featured in newscasts worldwide, but there's
more in them than what you may have heard.

Cambridge Analytica - Secret filming reveals election tricks'

    "The two fundamental human drivers when it comes to taking
     information onboard effectively are hopes and fears and many
     of those are unspoken and even unconscious. You didn't know
     that was a fear until you saw something that just evoked that
     reaction from you. And our job is to drop the bucket further
     down the well than anybody else, to understand what those
     really deep-seated underlying fears and concerns are. It's no
     good fighting an election campaign on the facts because
     actually it's all about emotion."

    "You mentioned intelligence gathering as well. We have
     relationships and partnerships with specialist organisations
     that do that kind of work. You know who the opposition is,
     you know their secrets, you know their tactics."

To all the political activists on the Internet: if you're not
going dark, your opponents might just know exactly what you are
up to and may be paying to have you dismantled.

    "There are various intelligence-gathering organisations that
     operate very discreetly to find [compromising] information.
     I know people who used to work for MI5, MI6. They now work
     for these private organisations. They will find all the
     skeletons in [the opponent's] closet. Quietly, discreetly,
     and give you a report."

When combined with what we know from Snowden, this suggests that
people with access to NSA data bases are making profit from such
access. That anyone who intends to make a career in politics is
already threatened by mere participation in the Internet. Snowden
also exposed the methods of operation of certain departments of
UK intelligence specialised in the mind manipulation of entire
populations. The news is, that with Cambridge Analytica these
kind of psychological operations are no longer limited to nation
state actors.

    "It has to happen without anyone thinking that's propaganda,
     because the moment you think that's propaganda the next
     question is, who's put that out? We have to be very subtle."

If you look at the manipulatory example clips against Odinga and
Clinton, it's far from subtle. The subtlety happens in the way
these clips are only presented to the gullible voters that are
psychologically unable to recognize them as propaganda.

    "It sounds a dreadful thing to say but these are things that
     don't necessarily need to be true as long as they're

Fake News for the win.

'Cambridge Analytica - Whistleblower reveals data grab of
 50 million Facebook profiles'

    "I can anticipate what your mental vulnerabilities are. What
     cognitive biases might you display in certain situations."

Bang. Cognitive biases are the essence of psychological
manipulation. How to bypass your reason and appeal directly
to your emotions and fears.

    "[Cambridge Analytica] knowingly misrepresent the truth in
     such a way that is conducive to their objective."

    "Steve [Bannon] wanted [�[80]�] to change the culture of America."

    "We were able to get 50+ million Facebook records in the span
     of a couple months."

Simply by letting a few ten thousand people fill in an online
survey implemented as a Facebook app by a Cambridge University
research institute.

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