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The problem with Cambridge Analytica is not (just) the privacy breach

The problem with Cambridge Analytica is not the privacy breach

TL;DR: Echo chambers created by CA or other political marketing firms are bad for democracy, but you can counter them by following pages, people and content you would normally not follow on FB.

Demographics VS Psychographics

How did CA plan to use psychographics to influence the Mexican election?

Political Marketing in the data deluge era means trading questionnaires and surveys for software pipelines that acquire, cleanse, process and analyze data on our activity trail left on social networks, and then recommend actions based on the results of this analysis.

Image result for cambridge analytica diagram

Diagram of applymagicsauce.com, a trait prediction engine developed by University of Cambridge’s Psychometrics Centre. It bears no relation to CA, and they explicitly address ethical issues. For one, they ask that you upload the data and fully disclose how you got it.

CA’s Data Pipeline in Mexico


This is the Data Pipeline CA set up in Mexico. Pig.gi and Mowisat’s involvement was exposed by El Financiero. Tasty Data’s involvement has not been verified and is part of our research.

This sort of pipeline is the true mark of a real, well-built, world-class data science, analytics or machine learning project: observe reality, alter it, and reobserve it.

Echo Chambers as CA’s Divide-and-Conquer Strategy


The echo chamber effect” by ZestyThings.com

The true damage of CA’s echo chambers in Mexico


This diagram attempts to explain how echo chambers created, fostered and enabled by CA weaken intersections between political preferences, hence debilitating the common ground required for building institutions

Democracies are built on consensus (and sometimes compromise), which are, in turn, founded on coincidences and common grounds. Without them, we can’t build institutions, and without institutions, we can’t have democracy.

Final note on echo chambers, the Mexican federal elections of 2018, and a way to counter them

If data is being used to influence your opinion, then mess with the data. It is, after all, yours.