​Forget Voters - Meet the Vegan Genius Who Hacked Facebook & Elected Trump

It couldn’t be that enough voters in key electoral districts were just not convinced by Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate that they could vote for. No. That just won’t do. We need a better narrative. The Russians did it. With Trump we think. The evidence is how mad the President gets when he tweets. Because so far no real evidence has shown up. But it will. At least as far as possible obstruction of justice is concerned. Collusion, maybe not.

But now we have a new evil bogeyman, a Wizard of Oz who truly is a wizard. Who truly is a genius and who put together the algorithms or at least connected the dots that supposedly were key in electing Donald Trump as the 45th President.

Sorry Jared, not you. Nor you Brad Parscale, though you get more credit than Jared does.

No, a very young (mid-20's) pink-haired vegan misfit-true-genius from British Columbia, Canada who happens to be gay as well. And who has come in from the cold in a series of stories and a lengthy profile in The Observer and The Guardian.

Meet Christopher Wylie, the evil genius behind Cambridge Analytica and Steve Bannon's success at helping Trump win the 2016 election. According to the latest iteration of the Hillary-only-lost-because-they-cheated narrative. Here's a quote from the Guardian article:

And when Wylie turns the full force of his attention to something - his strategic brain, his attention to detail, his ability to plan 12 moves ahead - it is sometimes slightly terrifying to behold.

Ok. Let's leave aside the fact that Obama's 2012 campaign pioneered the use of algorithms by putting back together the coalition that first elected him in 2008. Literally putting back that coalition through the use of consent by Facebook users in order to gain data on that FB user's friends. And their data. But the first step involved consent so that made it ok. The fact that it was Obama and not that guy from Queens made no difference ... right?

Let's instead look at what Cambridge Analytica supposedly did, starting around 2014. Was it illegal? The harvesting of up to 50 million users' profiles through a survey? Even Christopher Wylie says as far he thought, it was legal. Was it ethical and did Cambridge Analytica executives lie to British parliamentarians? Perhaps they did. We will find out surely.

The real question revolves around weaponizing psychology in the service of whatever client or objective that client may have. In other words, Facebook ads that are based on carefully constructed algorithms that are themselves based on patterns that the data reveals to geniuses like Chris Wylie. Information operations in the jargon of those who do this sort of stuff. Stuff that plays on your fears and hopes.

Yes there was a Russian psychologist or two involved in some of the studies that helped Cambridge Analytica construct those algorithms. Are we to believe that this means that Putin is running Facebook? Because that's where some people are rather dramatically pointing towards. Paul-Olivier Dehaye seems to think that collusion between Russia and Trump "will be in the platform's data flows", in the words of the Guardian's story.

In the end, if people reading ads on Facebook - many of which were late or even after the election - was supposedly enough to push them to vote for Trump, then it seems to me that they were leaning that way and would have voted that way anyway. And how in world can you prove that voters in key electoral districts were motivated to a crucial extent by those ads?

At the same time, the whole Cambridge Analytica story is yet another revelation of how powerful social media has become. Because Silicon Valley - that is Google, Facebook, and even Amazon as well as Apple and Microsoft - really is the main source of information for most voters. We can argue endlessly about how effective Facebook is at changing people's political opinions. The real problem is the monopoly power that their platforms (and the resulting cash flow) give them over any new competitors. And how society deals with that. For now Silicon Valley is progressive and liberal in general, and conservatives have a hard time getting equal access to their powerful platforms. Despite the claims that Facebook was hacked by a vegan genius who supposedly got Trump elected.

Anything to deny voters agency. Even after they've voted. That too is a problem.

Because if geniuses like Christopher Wiley are the ones that nudge voters towards their clients objectives, then the next step will be to declare voters unable to contend with all these psyops. And then the next step would be to limit their right - our right - to vote. All in the interest of protecting our right to vote. And that would be the biggest problem of all.

Posted by Keeley at March 21, 2018 1:44 PM
Comments
Comment #425656

“Anything to deny voters agency. Even after they’ve voted.”

Any president who is selected by the electoral college with fewer votes than the opponent is going to face problems of legitimacy.

Wray was selected because of his history with white collar criminals and money launderers.

https://www.the-american-interest.com/2017/07/28/no-wray/

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/christopher-wray-article-1.3227937

Wray jumped to the other side of corruption cases, helping major corporations — as well as Christie, one of Trump’s biggest supporters — fend off allegations of corruption.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 21, 2018 2:18 PM
Comment #425663

Maybe we need to go to a system that gives each state an equal say in the election. One state, one vote. Who ever wins the most states, wins. seems fair.

Posted by: dbs at March 21, 2018 4:52 PM
Comment #425669

Repeal the 17th amendment.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 21, 2018 10:34 PM
Comment #425676

WW

Yeah 17th should go. Senators represent the state, and should be appointed by the legislatures. The people already have their voice in the house.

Posted by: dbs at March 22, 2018 7:53 AM
Comment #425678

Exactly. Once the states have reclaimed their legitimate position the 16th will also be available for repeal. The states will be funding the federal government as it should be, not the individual.

Once the 16th and the 17th amendments are gone the federal government will return to being controlled by the states and the citizens can return to not being affected by the federal government. The electoral college would also return to electing the president instead of the sham popular vote we have now. Imagine the money saved by not needing senate and presidential campaigns! Talk about getting money out of politics! That would do it.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 22, 2018 10:16 AM
Comment #425701

Reading your post is just like reading an official journal.
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