Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Tech Tuesday: Miscellaneous Musings on Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and the Current Database Scandal

"Today in the United States we have somewhere close to four or five thousand data points on every individual... so we model the personality of every adult across the United States, some 230 million people."
--Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix, October 2016

As anyone paying attention already knows, Facebook and Cambridge Analytica have been on the hotseat this past week. Initially the focus was on the President's use of private information gather through clandestine means. But as I pointed out last week in my blog post about the social media giant, this is just the way social media works. You give them your information, and they use it to generate profits by selling (or licensing or sharing, or whatever) with marketers who generate precise messaging for their target prospects. It's what they do.

To quote CEO Nix again, "It’s about understanding what matters most to that person - what they care about, what they worry about..."  (Telegraph, Nov. 2016)

* * * *
Using the latest digital technology for political purposes is nothing new. Both POTUS and Hillary were campaigning in the virtual sim world Second Life in 2016. And I recall that President Obama was active on social media during his 2012 campaign.

What I do not recall is any coverage by major media of the Obama campaigns alleged indiscretions when it came to using illicit means harvesting data on Facebook users in 2012. According to this Investors Business Daily editorial opinion the Dems "encouraged supporters to download an Obama 2012 Facebook app that, when activated, let the campaign collect Facebook data both on users and their friends." oh the games people play.

Some people have been jumping all over Cambridge Analytica for breaking the rules FB establishes to protect our privacy, but as marketing people (listen to Ad Contrarian Bob Hoffman) pretty well know, the data is out of the bag. What torques a few folk on some of the forums I've visited is that the Obama campaign not only did the same thing, they even bragged about it. (MIT Technology Review, Dec. 2012)

Here's another 2016 article in MIT Review regarding how Facebook learns about your Offline life, by acquiring info about your from other sources that you were unaware of.

There's so much background noise these days that stories like this tend to get lost in the wind. Until now. It's a mob driven soap opera, and you never can tell how a mob is going to behave.


*Funny, When Obama Harvested Facebook Data On Millions Of Users To Win In 2012, Everyone Cheered; IBD, 3-19-2018
In the interest of airing both sides, there is plenty of forum fodder being widely distributed in all directions, and who knows what the baloney is really made of, but I suspect that at the end of the day everybody knows more about everybody than anybody ever imagined was possible.

"Don't follow leaders, watch the parking meters." --Bob Dylan

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