Updated: Jan 27, 2020
Facebook has seen you naked! Not really, but I’m sure Cambridge Analytica has come pretty close. The Late Show host, Stephen Colbert, recently analysed the data firm that has every user, including myself, removing all permitted apps from since 2009.
Here are my thoughts on Stephen’s analysation:
1. Free will is an illusion
Cambridge Analytica used the data of 50 million Facebook users to potentially influence the U.S. 2016 election. This raised red flags as it could have skewed voters, without their knowledge. As Stephen said, “Free will is an illusion.” Content may have been created that would attract users based on their likes, interests, and even photos. Do you really drink White Oak? or is it because Nailah said that you reign?
2. That one alert we never got
Facebook notifies me if someone is attending a fete in Tobago, if that one guy goes Live with zero viewers and even when someone adds a story. They knew all along about the breach but, couldn’t let users know their information was being used? Of all the notifications?
3. Tell us more Cambridge Analytica
The firm then took to Twitter to defend their thieving ways. “Advertising is not coercive, people are smarter than that”, they tweeted. Of course, advertising is not meant to be influential. According to Stephen, it’s a public service to distribute short films. I particularly enjoy seeing those people eat shrimp and roti in the Hosein’s Roti Shop ad.
4. Psychographic Targeting
Believe it or not, your Facebook actually says a lot about who you are, demographically and psychographically. Cambridge Analytica was able to create psychographic profiles that would influence particular preferences. To put it simply, remember those Facebook personality tests we did some years ago? Or a more recent example, “Your face on a Glamorous magazine in seconds.” User information was retrieved using these types of tactics. You might want to check your settings after this.
5. Candid Corruption
Even Cambridge Analytica knows the relevance of videos to social media. At the end of his bit, Stephen shows a clip of Alexander Nix, Cambridge Analytica Chief Executive Officer, speaking with an undercover reporter. Nix advised of different techniques for blackmail. Ironically mentioning, the use of videos to record transactions and upload. My my how the tables have turned.
Facebook has changed over the years and now, it might be more media than social. But, as is with everything, it is what we make it. I’m definitely going to rethink taking that quiz to see what I look like in 10 years.