Update-1 [Some links added in articles are mine – Oui]
Last fall, the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica gained fame as the group of nerdy British data scientists that helped Donald Trump get elected. The firm says it’s able to use its “psychographic data models” to sway undecided voters by targeting people’s social media profiles and serving up messages and ads based on their perceived biases.
Cambridge Analytica now hopes to leverage that success–and its ties to Trump–to do more business with the U.S. government. Working from offices just blocks from the White House, it’s been pitching itself to defense and national security agencies. In February it signed a $500,000 U.S. State Department contract to fight radicalization of young people abroad.
While Cambridge Analytica has faced scrutiny before over whether its data models actually work, a closer look at the past practices of its London-based affiliate, SCL Group Ltd., reveals a corporate DNA less predisposed to dazzling technologies to sway voters than to using old-fashioned tricks and political subterfuge.
Alexander Nix set up Cambridge Analytica in 2013 to target the U.S. market, installing himself as chief executive officer after 14 years as a director of SCL. In the past year, Nix, 41, has become a darling in tech and marketing circles, popping up on the international speaking circuit to promote the firm’s data-driven approach.
In a presentation at the 2016 Concordia Summit, Mr. Alexander Nix discusses the power of big data in global elections. Cambridge Analytica’s revolutionary approach to audience targeting, data modeling, and psychographic profiling has made them a leader in behavioral microtargeting for election processes around the world.
Senator Cruz campaign competitive primary supported by Cambridge Analytica – Ocean Model PsychoGraphics
Was Britain’s EU referendum hijacked by the American alt-right using a technique known as psychographics? BBC Newsnight’s Gabriel Gatehouse reports on the data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica.
I’ve been studying this area for a long while; when I talk about perceptive media people always ask how this would work for news? I mean manipulate of feelings and what you see, can be used for good and obviously for very bad! Dare I say those words… Fake news?
Some insight into the connection between Dr. Michal Kosinski and Cambridge Analytica
Any company can aggregate and purchase big data, but Cambridge Analytica has developed a model to translate that data into a personality profile used to predict, then ultimately change your behavior. That model itself was developed by paying a Cambridge psychology professor to copy the groundbreaking original research of his colleague through questionable methods that violated Amazon’s Terms of Service. Based on its origins, Cambridge Analytica appears ready to capture and buy whatever data it needs to accomplish its ends.
In 2013, Dr. Michal Kosinski, then a PhD. candidate at the University of Cambridge’s Psychometrics Center, released a groundbreaking study announcing a new model he and his colleagues had spent years developing. By correlating subjects’ Facebook Likes with their OCEAN scores
What they did with that rich data. Dark postings!
Dark posts were also used to depress voter turnout among key groups of democratic voters. “In this election, dark posts were used to try to suppress the African-American vote,” wrote journalist and Open Society fellow McKenzie Funk in a New York Times editorial. “According to Bloomberg, the Trump campaign sent ads reminding certain selected black voters of Hillary Clinton’s infamous `super predator’ line. It targeted Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood with messages about the Clinton Foundation’s troubles in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.'”
From my diaries …
- The company is owned and controlled by conservative and alt-right interests that are also deeply entwined in the Trump administration. The Mercer family is both a major owner of Cambridge Analytica and one of Trump’s biggest donors. Steve Bannon, in addition to acting as Trump’s Chief Strategist and a member of the White House Security Council, is a Cambridge Analytica board member.