What is unique about Cambridge Analytica(?)
As far as I understand it, Cambridge Analytica (CA) has used pretty standard marketing tools in their ad campaign: Psychological profiling and designs and targeting of its ads based on said profiles.
Harvesting Facebook is not unique either, so CA’s transgression here is that it used a third party to do it (this is clearly against Facebook’s policy).
What is troubling in terms of political discourse is that some of these targeted ads cannot be seen by others (only the sender and the Facebook user, hence why they’re known as dark advertising) and promotes echo chambers and myth making between ingroups and outgroups instead of public discourse. Dark ads have also been criticised for ramping up existing conflict levels and potential (famously described in the US context as The Paranoid Style in American Politics) by pandering to fear, uncertainty and doubt, made even worse by the lack of accountability in them not being seen and criticised by a wider audience.
Then there’s the Channel 4 (C4) sting aka the “Nix tapes” where top UK CA officials apparently advocate and confess to entrapment and blackmail (their own version is that they were sounding out C4’s mole, though it sounds like a pretty lame excuse to me). Currently, I’ve not heard of any evidence that CA has actually employed these tactics, so it may be hubristic boasting to “impress the natives” (C4’s mole was posing as a fixer trying to affect Sri Lankan politics) in a combination of frat boy, James Bond and casual racist stereotyping (based on a “that’s probably how they do things at home”-view of Sri Lankan politics). ScepticWombat (talk) 06:15, 25 March 2018 (UTC)
- Yes, it's hard to tell the bullshit from the crime (if any). Did CA actually have an impact on elections? They would have liked their clients to thinks so. Now that they've been stung by C4, they'd like everyone to think otherwise. Feel free to expand or modify the current page. Bongolian (talk) 06:20, 25 March 2018 (UTC)