Cambridge Analytica's financiers somehow got hold of a simulation game designed to warn about machine-learning's corruption of politics

Randy Lubin writes, "Earlier this year I teamed up with Scout.ai to design Machine Learning President, a simulation game to help pro-democracy folks think about the impact of technology on politics. Somehow a copy got in the hands of the Mercer family (previously) and, earlier today, the New Yorker covered it. We have no clue how they got the rules but we talked to Gizmodo to set the record straight." Read the rest

Cambridge Analytica is out of business, but its heavy hitters have reopened under a new name

Cambridge Analytica may be out of business thanks to bad publicity, but "Emerdata" is a new company, whose board includes the daughters of Robert Mercer, who bankrolled Cambridge Analytica; disgraced former Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix is on its board of directors, and much of Cambridge Analytica's C-suite has packed up their desks and moved into the Emerdata offices. Read the rest

Cambridge Analytica became a US powerhouse thanks Mercer's laundered money and a judas goat named John Bolton

After interviewing Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie and other CA sources and reviewing leaked documents, the Washington Post has pieced together the story of how the dirty-tricking electioneers worked their way Republican political circles, as billionaire founder Robert Mercer opened doors for them with other notorious GOP billionaire backers, with an able assist from newly minted national security adviser John Bolton, a notorious war-criminal with close ties to terrorist groups like MEK. Read the rest

Just because Cambridge Analytica tells its customers it can sway elections, it doesn't follow that they're any good at it

Unilever founder John Wanamaker famously said, "I know that half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. My only problem is that I don’t know which half." It's an odd testament to the power of advertising, an industry whose executives are incredibly effective at selling their services to other executives, even if they can't prove they're any good at selling their customers' products to the public. Read the rest

Facebook insists that Cambridge Analytica didn't "breach" data, but "misused" it, and they're willing to sue anyone who says otherwise

Yesterday's bombshell article in the Guardian about the way that Cambridge Analytica was able to extract tens of millions of Facebook users' data without their consent was preceded by plenty of damage control on Facebook's part: they repeatedly threatened to sue news outlets if they reported on the story and fired the whistleblower who came forward with the story. Read the rest

With repetition, most of us will become inured to all the dirty tricks of Facebook attention-manipulation

In my latest Locus column, "Persuasion, Adaptation, and the Arms Race for Your Attention," I suggest that we might be too worried about the seemingly unstoppable power of opinion-manipulators and their new social media superweapons. Read the rest

Rumour mill says that the Mercers are going to axe Bannon from Breitbart over "Fire and Fury" remarks

In his new book Fire and Fury, Michael Wolff says that one-time White House chief strategist Steve Bannon accused the Trump campaign of "treason", a revelation that sparked a hilarious denunciation by Donald Trump, who claimed that his Chief Strategist didn't know anything about his strategies or his chiefs -- which drew more attention to the book (as did the legal threats the Trump administration fired at the book's publisher, Macmillan), widening the rift between Bannon and Trump. Read the rest

For $25, you can target Facebook users based on race and sexual orientation

Point created an obviously fake company with tons of alarm-raising inconsistencies, allocated it $25, and then used their budget to target Facebook users based on race and sexual orientation, a move that, depending on the ad's content, can violate US civil rights law. Read the rest