This is creepy — Beware of the propaganda network.
In the midst of a lot of frightening political news, The Guardian published a story that has me reeling with fears bordering on paranoia. This is one article that I sincerely hope is NOT true.
As someone who is active on social media, especially Facebook, I thought I understood the risks and the trade-offs related to my online presence. I had no idea that there are billionaires and their corporations conducting warlike bio-psycho-social profiling… or cognitive warfare.
We all know big corporations are collecting way to much data about us, which we mostly assume they will use for marketing purposes. What is truly frightening is that they are using the data for mass propaganda, using data to manipulate our emotions and our thoughts.
Like me, you may never have heard these names: Robert Mercer (rightwing US big data computer scientist billionaire), Cambridge Analytica, and the SCL Group. We need to know their names, understand the war they are conducting, and figure out how to disrupt their program. They are the ‘brains’ behind the Trump Regime’s propaganda machine. The Cambridge Analytica website brags that it has 5,000 data points on over 220 million American (voters). The SCL Group website brags that they are, “A global election management agency, skilled in applying behavioural modeling and microtargeting solutions to political campaigns.”
The Guardian article reveals part of their strategy for collecting the information they need to manipulate our behavior. As is often the case, the technology originally came from academic research conducted by Cambridge University’s Psychometric Center. They created a simple personality quiz for Facebook and it went viral. More than 6 million people ended up completing the quiz. The quiz allowed them to gain access to our individual Facebook “likes.” If they can obtain 150 of our “likes” the computer program could predict someone’s personality better than their spouse. With 300, the computer program understood the person better than they understood themselves.
That is extremely creepy!
They are using the information they collect about us to manipulate information on a mass level, and at a very personal level. With this information, a computer has the artificial intelligence to predict and influence human behavior. Furthermore, we don’t know that it is happening.
I have generally found the Guardian to be a reliable news source. Part of me wants to dismiss this creepy news as “fake” news, but the consequences of ignoring this potential risk are too frightening.
Carole Cadwalladr, author of the Guardian article described the risk with these words, “the social media sites… are a new battlefield where international geopolitics is playing out in real time.”
“Politics is war,” said Steve Bannon last year in the Wall Street Journal.
The recent press conference where Trump attacked the media, the recent actions to block established media from White House press briefings, and every word that Trump uses are driven by what we should recognize as cognitive warfare.
What’s more there is a Russian connection to this propaganda machine. A highly authoritarian Regime depends on these kinds of propaganda tools. Joseph Goebbels was Hitler’s Master of Propaganda… Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer are Trump’s.
Back in 1970, Marshall McLuhan made this prophetic prediction:
“World War III will be a guerrilla information war, with no division between military and civilian participation.”
I am still absorbing this shocking and frightening information. I know this information will change my behavior. For one, I will NEVER complete another one of those “just for fun” Facebook quizzes. I am seriously considering deleting my Twitter account and never using Twitter again (it is always so full of those vicious hateful zombie bots). I am not so sure about Facebook. There are so many beneficial aspects to Facebook… But then again, I do not want to be brain-washed by propanda. Do you?
If this summary was interesting, you should read the full article. Here is a link: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/feb/26/robert-mercer-breitbart-war-on-media-steve-bannon-donald-trump-nigel-farage