The way Cambridge Analytica used data from Facebook to target voters is a how our psyches are used against us for the purposes of advertising and election meddling.
Part 2 of 5
Written, Edited & Filmed by Krish Mohan
As we dig deeper into the Cambridge Analytica debacle, UK’s Channel 4 did an expose on Cambridge Analytica and how they planned using this data. According to Mark Turnbull, the Data is used to profile users and then use their hopes and fears against them. They win arguments by using what’s already in the psyche of user and speak direct to them and manipulate their actions.
All this just proves that we should’ve destroyed Buzzfeed quizzes when we had the chance in 2001. But it was so hard! It was so exciting to figure which one of Destiny’s Child you were! To be fair if you changed your whole lifestyle because an online quiz told you that you were more of a Chandler on “Friends” and not a Ross, then you deserve to be manipulated because you’re a shell of person anyway.
Do some digging, some self reflection and realize that Friends doesn’t hold up anymore. And you can’t live your life based on 6 people, who all have codependency issues, which is why their spin-offs didn’t do well. It’s the only proof we have that Democracy actually works. When we stop watching spin-offs they get cancelled and ruin the lives of B-List celebrities!
This psychological evaluation was based on 5 different characteristics. Openness. Which might have had questions like “How many fingers do you let people put in your butt?” Consciousness. Questions might include “Did you ask first?” Extroversion. Which might have a question like “On a scale of 1-10 how much do you brag about your sex life?” Agreeableness. Where questions might be phrased “Don’t you think people that have premarital sex should be judged harshly by God and their peers?” And Neuroticism. Which might have questions like “Did you ever think that your neighbor is out to fuck your partner and everyone in your life? I mean why else would just let you borrow their lawnmower or cup of sugar?!”
Each person fits into a particular personality trait based on their score of each of the 5 categories. The personality traits then determine how to phrase the ads towards them to evoke an emotion to lead them to believe what these companies need them to believe. It uses what’s already in our minds against us to vote for who these companies want you to or buy the shit they want you to buy. If this technology was used in the late 80s they might have a campaign like “Vote Ford, Buy Ford. Win for America!”.
Cambridge Analytica was behind the “Defeat Crooked Hillary” campaign. According to Hillary Clinton that was a massive propaganda campaign. Well, like Mark Turnbull said they just used what information is out there to play on people’s psychology. So the information says you can’t be trusted Hill-Dawg and you were your own worst enemy. The video campaign didn’t help and neither did your emails or the DNC or your husband’s policies.
The campaigns are then spread by activists, billionaire’s companies, Super PACs, charity groups and these videos go viral. So eventually it becomes really hard to find the origin point of this. We might as well try to find the big bang before we try to figure out where memes and viral videos started, it’s slightly easier.
Now according to Steve Bannon, none of this a big deal. Bannon believes that this is the left being sore losers and Trump won because of simplistic speech, which is a polite way of saying the American populous is dumb and Trump used little words for big win. But it’s fair to say that this wasn’t the only thing that resulted in the election. If memes become the sole reason we are manipulated to vote against our interests humanity might not be ready for the responsibility of voting or evolution. Let’s just go back to the trees.
In the same Channel 4 expose, Alexander Nix, the head honcho and boy wonder of Cambridge Analytica, says the Candidate is the puppet. Which goes to show that technology and data companies drive election results. So Trump’s simplistic rhetoric was a ruse to an incredibly complicated scheme that can only be concocted by old timey weed.
Nix and Turnbull also bring up the use of honey traps, commonly used by James Bond villains and people trying to find sex addicts. They have denied the use of this strategy to blackmail the opposition. But Steve Bannon says these honey traps are the work of a totally different company. Finally a practical use for something you see in a James Bond film! We were all worried that James Bond was just a work of fiction. It’s good to get confirmation that he’s real and maybe Russia might be trying to feed their people with the concept of Love.
This issue proves that the biggest dollar bill has been on our minds the whole time. Advertisements have been bombarded on to us day in and day out. The TV tells us what to eat. The radio tells us what to wear. Family vacations are ruined by the enormous amounts of billboards confusing the mind about what rest stop is the best one to pee at.
This is the evolution of that. Youtube ads tell us what is or isn’t cool. Spotify bombards you with membership by berating you and constantly telling you to eat at Arby’s. Billboards are still confusing families but more about which hell they’ll go to based on which rest stop they use.
Cambridge Analytica has been shut down after their ban from Facebook, but in their absence there are new data mining companies taking over this landscape. The silver lining in the loss of our Democracy is that we no longer have to be slaves the whims of adverts. We can start using our critical thinking skills and with the help of friends and therapists our fears don’t have to become weapons for those in power. We can use the new timey tools to actually help people instead of rot our minds into piles of cash.