I was wondering what all the fuss was about this Cambridge Analytica story, until I came across this detail:
The London-based company is accused of using the personal data of 50 million Facebook members to influence the US presidential election in 2016.
“Russia hacked the election” hasn’t worked, so the ruling classes need to come up with another excuse to cast doubt on the legitimacy of Trump’s election and explain why Hillary lost. As people are pointing out:
[W]hat’s odd is that people don’t seem to mind data being plundered if the beneficiaries are the perceived good guys.
Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign, for instance, used one of Facebook’s APIs (application programming interfaces) and data to target voters. It’s clever and complicated, but what it boils down to is that Obama’s data scientists were able to persuade about a million Facebook users to connect their profile to the Obama campaign website. They were then able to access the profiles of these people, which also showed who their friends were. From this they were able to construct real life social networks, which enabled them to target many, many more potential Obama voters. “If you log in with Facebook, now the campaign has connected you to all your relationships,’ boasted a digital campaign organiser.
What Cambridge Analytica did, in essence, was the same as the Obama campaign in 2012 – though they had a smaller sample group of 250,000 to model from.
[W]hen Obama did it, such practices were written up in glowing terms. His campaign’s social media tactics were widely lauded for harvesting ‘the power of friendship’. But when Trump or Brexit do it, apparently, it’s evil.
This certainly explains why the BBC is running it as front-page news, and probably will for the rest of the week.