Saturday, August 3, 2019

The Great Hack

Just saw The Great Hack on Netflix. Puts the whole Russian meddling in the election into a much bigger picture. It only mentions the Russians a couple of times at the end. It's about Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. Now I see it all quite differently. It won't help in the long run to try to stop the Russians from doing what they're doing. They weren't necessarily even the major player in the 2016 election - CA was sure in there heavy. Steve Bannon was a VP and thought up the name.
They're gone now but that doesn't change the problem which is that any outfit that has the right knowledge and skills can use Facebook to target pinpointed populations who are undecided or impressionable and get to them with phony friends and targeted posts. CA invented the "Crooked Hillary" line and came up with the idea to put handcuffs on the two Os in the name. Trump campaign bought almost 6 million Facebook ads during the campaign. Clinton - 66,000. It focuses on a man who finds that CA has an average of 5000 data bits on every voter in the US and asks CA for his and pursues it doggedly, a woman journalist who is investigating the issue, and a two key CA former employees, one of whom is a woman who was key to the set up for Obama's effective online trip for his elections. Obama and Clinton people wouldn't pay her anything but her family had gone bankrupt from 2008 and lost their home and then CA came to court her. They figured out how to get a lot of people to vote for whom they wanted or to not vote, how to help swing close elections like Brexit by targeting a small slice of undecideds. Anyway, what I saw is that it can't be stopped that easy though of course that should be tried, but dealing with it better on the receiving end seems vital.   This method has so far been bolstering more authoritarian government like in Brazil, increasing division and racism. Zuckerberg so far seems in denial and UK gov said he was obstructive. It's amazing how quickly some people can figure out how to do very complicated and technical tasks so quickly. It's like water flowing downstream filling in any gaps. It's like if something can be done it will be done.

But no matter what we do I think we're doomed but it does seem like the right thing to do to deal with such things.

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