Why (almost) everything reported about the Cambridge Analytica Facebook ‘hacking’ controversy is wrong

  1. None of what I just described involves ‘hacking’ Facebook or exploiting a bug. Instead, it all revolves around the use of a feature that Facebook provided to all developers and (at least) tens of thousands took advantage of.
  2. The data collected was not internal Facebook data. It was data that developers (s̵c̵r̵a̵p̵e̵d̵ ) accessed* from the profiles of people who downloaded their apps (and their friends). Facebook has a lot more data on users than is publically available and it has it for everyone who uses their platform. No one but Facebook has access to that data. This is a point that almost all the journalists involved seem unable to grasp, instead they repeatedly equate ‘Facebook’s internal data’ to ‘data (s̵c̵r̵a̵p̵e̵d̵ )accessed from Facebook profiles using a third party app’. But these are VERY different things.
    (*changed term as per convincing suggestion provided in the responses.)
Chris Wylie the mastermind who ‘hacked’ Facebook…
  • That Steve Bannon wanted to weaponize big data… No difficulty believing.
  • That Cambridge Analytica claims to be able to provide effective tools for psychological targeting and manipulation… Certainly true.
  • That Chris Wylie, himself, was involved with some shady business and views himself as partly responsible… Sure.
  • That the self-promotional claims of Cambridge Analytica actually equate to how effective the services they provide are… Hmmmm.
Alexander Nix, CEO of Cambridge Analytica standing in front of lots of impressive graphs!
Note the starting point of the y-axis. There is a reason it isn’t 0.

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