Note: This post has been moved from Latest Picks due to length of extended updates.
Pressure mounts on Cambridge Analytica and Facebook over data scandal (theguardian.com).
In Britain, the head of the parliamentary committee investigating fake news accused Cambridge Analytica and Facebook of misleading MPs after revelations in the Observer that more than 50m Facebook profiles were harvested and used to build a system that may have influenced voters in the [American] 2016 presidential campaign.
Cambridge Analytica being a data mining and data analysis service with its headquarters in London founded by now ex White House Chief Strategist Steven Bannon partly owned by the family of Robert Mercer, American hedge-fund manager and Trump supporter that offers its services to businesses and political parties who want to “change audience behaviour” (theguardian.com), harvesting data from sources including social media platforms such as Facebook.
And causing waves stateside too—where along with Twitter there has been a lot of umming and ahhing in regards questions to be answered over how much their ad revenue profiting and services were and still are abused by those with Russian cash and agenda or simply “newsworthy abuse” (Latest Picks 5th Oct. 2017).
With regards Cambridge Analytica’s “change audience behaviour” being bad enough that it may have helped convinced Brits wishing to make Lil’ England like an episode of never ending 1960s Heartbeat again with Brexit (theguardian.com, May 2017), its virtual alt-Jedi mind tricks on the American side of the pond had them elect an orange Reality TV tycoon who is surely also king of disaffected Umpa Lumpas after the Midwestern chocolate factory shut down.
[Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee said] “The company has repeatedly touted its ability to influence voters through ‘psychographic’ targeting and has claimed it was the fundamental reason that Donald Trump won the 2016 election. Indeed, it may be that through Cambridge Analytica, the Trump campaign made use of illegitimately acquired data on millions of Americans in order to help sway the election.”
Seemingly taking advantage of their predictability as much as F’book itself did knowing that Orange Don’s Arse Elbow, Nebraska demographic were more likely to click on targeted ads for hemorrhoid creme (Latest Picks 27th Feb. 2018).
And the login root of the it must be said somewhat convoluted issue seems to be use of that “login with Facebook” option available on oh-so-many web services:
“In 2015, we learned that a psychology professor at the University of Cambridge named Dr Aleksandr Kogan lied to us and violated our ‘platform policies’ by passing data from an app that was using Facebook Login to SCL/Cambridge Analytica,’ the statement [from Facebook] said.
Oh dear; and they probably didn’t even really care to know what your last post said you’d just had tea.
[Conservative MP Damian Collins] attacked Facebook for appearing to have been “deliberately avoiding answering straight questions” in testimony to the committee.
“It is now clear that data has been taken from Facebook users without their consent, and was then processed by a third party and used to support their campaigns,” Collins said. “Facebook knew about this, and the involvement of Cambridge Analytica with it.”
“Deliberately avoiding” and keen to impress on all now that they are much more interested in you talking about local news such as the size of Mrs Wanton’s garden melons or exactly what Mr Doodah was doing with that spade in the dead of night down the bottom of his garden (Blog, updated 30th Jan. 2018).
Updated 20th March 2018
Facebook’s rules for accessing user data lured more than just Cambridge Analytica (washingtonpost.com).
Facebook last week suspended the Trump campaign’s data consultant, Cambridge Analytica, for scraping the data of potentially millions of users without their consent. But thousands of other developers, including the makers of games such as FarmVille and the dating app Tinder, as well as political consultants from President Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign, also siphoned huge amounts of data about users and their friends, developing deep understandings of people’s relationships and preferences.
And they didn’t even leave you a Like.
Such information can be extremely valuable to marketers and political campaigns for tailoring messages, ads and fundraising pitches.
And, unsurprisingly, the very thing Facebook seemingly cares as much about as its trumpeted desire to “bring the world closer together” (techcrunch.com, Jun. 2017) takes a tumble:
Dow plunges more than 300 points—tech stocks crushed by news of Facebook breach (uk.businessinsider.com).
It’s a situation that highlights an unfortunate reality about mega-cap technology firms like Facebook: While their outsize weighting in major indexes is a boon when their shares are rising, the comeuppance can be swift and unforgiving during times of weakness.
Updated 21st March 2018
And while until now it has just appeared to be gaming F’book and those who couldn’t care less what their data is being used for while they partake in the jumbo friending, flirting, and fibbing extravaganza that it is:
An undercover report broadcast in the UK by Channel 4 on Monday showed senior executives from data consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica offering to film politicians being bribed and circulate the videos on the internet in exchange for cash. They also offered to use Ukrainian sex workers and companies employing ex-spies to help dig dirt on political candidates.
Indeed, do they have the golden shower one of Orange Don too? (newsweek.com, Dec. 2017).
So I guess some more wriggling and biting lip by Zuckerberg and F’book is in order:
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has admitted the giant social network “made mistakes” over the Cambridge Analytica scandal and a “breach of trust” had occurred between it and its users.
With mention of “breach of trust”, “rogue apps”, and “really sorry”, and saying he is “happy” to testify before Congress as it’s “the right thing to do”. But then again most on Facebook didn’t notice the apology or even know what it was for if they did being swept up with a collection of “friended” strangers in a new viral planking fad “challenge” (knowyourmeme.com) trending involving friending planks of 2x8.
And adding to the calls to reclaim your privacy and time by not having nefarious data mining analysis undertook of your friending of planks of wood that are about as interested as the other strangers in you telling you are having a poo:
[Co-founder of WhatsApp] Brian Acton tweeted: “It is time. #deletefacebook” as the hashtag trended amid growing outrage over the social media giant’s links to controversial British data firm Cambridge Analytica (CA).
Acton along with Jan Koum having sold WhatsApp to Facebook for $19bn in 2014, and with F’book failing to monitise it and fill it with targeted ads for lubricants yet (forbes.com, Nov. 2017) having a right good laugh.
Updated 23rd March 2018
And obviously curious to see if they actually have the tape of Orange Don getting pissed on by Russian toms too:
British data regulator granted search warrant to raid Cambridge Analytica offices and seize its servers (uk.businessinsider.com).
Elizabeth Denham, the UK Information Commissioner, sought a warrant for CA’s systems on Monday evening after the company previously didn’t respond to her demand for its records and data earlier this month.
Denham told Sky News on Tuesday that her search of CA’s systems were “one strand of much larger investigation into the use of personal information for big data politics.”
Meanwhile, those on F’book shrugged shoulders being much more interested in a viral video of a math teacher breakdancing for caramel apple pie (whatstrending.com).
Updated 24th March 2018
And even though the #deletefacebook campaign is falling unsurprisingly rather flat because for many users it is the be-all-and-end-all of the internet, the real pressure for F’book is starting to be felt where it hurts the most, being a kick in the ad sacks:
Advertisers are turning up the heat on Facebook (money.cnn.com).
At least three companies—Sonos, Commerzbank (CRZBF) and Mozilla—have pulled advertisements off Facebook after a data scandal engulfed the social network. Others are asking tough questions.
ISBA, a UK industry body that represents advertisers including Unilever (UL), McDonald’s (MCD) and Adidas (ADDDF), met with Facebook on Friday. It said following the meeting that Facebook had offered to discuss data privacy with its members individually.
Seriously, it really would not be too hard to believe F’book could well be at the pivot point for downward spiral à la MySpace if it actually had any meaningful competition as with Instagram (owned by Facebook) and Twitter catering to a slightly different picture sharing and trolling demographic, it does not, even when the big guns attempted to out fire and outmaneuver with a one-account-for-everything broadside that saw Google+ become an embarrassing minus (theguardian.com, Jul. 2015).
Next page: Facebook apologises in full-page UK and US newspaper ads; it seems Facebook has been scraping call, text message data from Android phones for years; Cambridge Analytica whistleblower says his predecessor was allegedly poisoned and police bribed.