Since New Year's Day, @hindsightfiles has been tweeting a steady stream of links to leaked Cambridge Analytica documents revealing the company's work on election manipulation for candidates around the world, including Malaysia, Kenya and Brazil -- 100,000+ documents relating to 68 countries, which @hindsightfiles has pledged to release in the coming months. Read the rest
Ever since the glorious disaster that was Cambridge Analytica and the entire political climate of 2016, Mark Zuckerberg has been making the rounds from press outlets to private meetings with Republican donors to Congressional testimonies to more private meetings with Republican donors, all with increasing frequency. But he has yet to grant an audience to the Guardian since they broke the initial story with whistleblower testimony.
So naturally, the Guardian enlisted the help of Botnick Studios to create a neural network trained on some 200,000+ words from Zuckerberg's interviews, speeches, and blogposts over the last three years. And they interviewed that instead.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, this "Zuckerbot" sounds about as convincing as the real Zuckerberg — which is to say like an eerily fabricated alien simulacrum of a human being. For example, here's how it describes the purpose of Facebook:
First, I want to thank you all for being a part of my mission. The purpose of Facebook is to bring about internet for people in the digital room. It is about advertising dollars to people who pay to be able to pay. We believe in building $8bn of voice on the platform for dads who are hungry for coffee.
And on his secret meetings with Donald Trump:
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Is anything ever secure? Is anything ever secret? Guess what? The answer is a clear maybe. Or maybe not. I am going to say quiet words in your face just like I did with him and Congress. You can’t expect me to tell you a secret that I didn’t share with him but I am confident that we are sharing the same infrastructure.
Of course they announced it at the end of the day on Friday, that's what you do with bad news. Read the rest
The "business analytics" firm Mixpanel has released its figures estimating the total usage of Facebook (liking, sharing and posting) since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke; they showed usage falling off 10% in the first month following from the news of the scandal, and continuing to fall, with overall usage down by 20% since April 2018. Read the rest
No surprises here. Facebook does not support the co-founder Chris Hughes' proposal to split the world’s largest social media company into three parts. Read the rest
EU privacy rules force European companies to surrender data they hold on anyone, anywhere; and that includes SCL Elections, which owned Cambridge Analytica, the notorious Facebook data-miner and election-manipulator that extravagantly claimed to have won the election for Donald Trump. Read the rest
Damian Collins chairs the UK Parliament's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee; it was he who ordered the Parliamentary Serjeant at Arms to drag a visiting US tech executive named Ted Kramer out of his hotel to surrender his laptop to Parliament so they could see the internal Facebook documents that a US federal judge had ordered sealed. Read the rest
Ted Kramer is CEO and co-founder of Six4Three, a creepy US-based machine-learning startup whose debut product was a Facebook app called Pinkini that let you search your friends' photos for pictures of them in bikinis; when Facebook shut down the app after a terms-of-service change, Six4Three sued Facebook and obtained a key trove of internal Facebook documents through the discovery process. Read the rest
A group of Facebook users who claim their personal data was misused, possibly to throw the 2016 U.S. Presidential election to Donald Trump, must wait until September to try and get more information from 'dark data' firm Cambridge Analytica. Read the rest