UK’17 election and Facebook algorithms — call for a collaborative analysis.


A new election is coming
Political actors buy electoral data in the grey market
Political marketing works with bots and automatized creation of content
People on social networks often do not check and spread falsehood by mistake 
Humans mostly ignore corrections 
All this manipulative information are organized by Facebook algorithm, while their own marketing department kick the stage promising “we’ll do big steps against fake news

Some details on UK elections and data

After Brexit, TheGuardian journalist Carol CadWalladr start to investigated on how users profile are used in political campaign. You can follow the last inquiry she was doing in this twitter thread:

Read the whole thread

Why matter

Privacy-International made a research about Cambridge Analytica Explained: Data and Elections

Political campaigns rely on data operations for a number of decisions: where to hold rallies, which states to focus on, and how to communicate with supporters, undecided voters and non-supporters. Essentially, companies like Cambridge Analytica do two things: profile individuals, and use these profiles to personalise political messaging.

Living in a fully profiled society, basically weaken us all, because as group we are more exposed to the information operation external influences

A collaborative analysis

We made a browser extension, currently available only for Chrome (it may work also on Firefox but has to be built, updated and tested. we need help), through which you become what we call a supporter, because you are supporting the analysis.

Our previous research displays how some ad-hoc users, with small differences between each other, are provided with different posts, because of the Facebook algorithm. This distorts your perception of reality. We got evidence of posts never display in users newsfeeds. Other posts, despite the chronological order, have been displayed for many times in favorable position.

An analysis like this can’t be done personally but has to get a certain large set of volunteers, here the step to join this experiment:

How to join

  1. You need to be a Facebook user, or to have a spare one for this analysis. This user has to access Facebook in the next days till the UK election is done. This user has to run
  2. You have to put like and follow all of those pages: Daily Record, The Guardian, Financial Times, The i Paper, Daily Express, The Daily Star, The Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mirror, London Evening Standard, Metro, Daily Mail, The Sun. During all the days of the election they will publish content: we want to see, how much Facebook restrict your vision.
  3. Install the extension, it is necessary to collect evidences.
  4. Complete the registration, it require a public post in your profile, you can delete it after a minute.
  5. Declare you belong to the study group UK2017. Click on the extensions icon in your browser to open the settings:
Then “Save and Reload”