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How Trump Consultants Exploited the Facebook Data of Millions

exoplanet

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One of the key advantages of the Trump campaign was apparently unethical and possibly even illegal.
So the firm harvested private information from the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users without their permission, according to former Cambridge employees, associates and documents, making it one of the largest data leaks in the social network’s history. The breach allowed the company to exploit the private social media activity of a huge swath of the American electorate, developing techniques that underpinned its work on President Trump’s campaign in 2016.
...
“This was a scam — and a fraud,” Paul Grewal, a vice president and deputy general counsel at the social network, said in a statement to The Times earlier on Friday. He added that the company was suspending Cambridge Analytica, Mr. Wylie and the researcher, Aleksandr Kogan, a Russian-American academic, from Facebook. “We will take whatever steps are required to see that the data in question is deleted once and for all — and take action against all offending parties,” Mr. Grewal said.
Some of the players involved:
Alexander Nix = CEO of Cambridge Analytica
Mr Mercer = conservative investor in C.A.
Steve Bannon = angel of death
In the United States, Mr. Mercer’s daughter, Rebekah, a board member, Mr. Bannon and Mr. Nix received warnings from their lawyer that it was illegal to employ foreigners in political campaigns, according to company documents and former employees.

Congressional investigators have questioned Mr. Nix about the company’s role in the Trump campaign. And the Justice Department’s special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has demanded the emails of Cambridge Analytica employees who worked for the Trump team as part of his investigation into Russian interference in the election.
Hoo boy.

This is an important issue, not only because of the relationship to the Trump admin, but because of the ways we are all being used and manipulated by social media companies which sell our information and market to us in ways that are insidiously effective and invisible to us. This is not the first or last time our data will be stolen and used against us. It's not just about whether we buy Coke or Pepsi. It's who we vote for, whether we bother to vote or not, and what information we even have about the world to make decisions.
 
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