Last year’s referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union broke me.
I recovered relatively quickly by sticking to my personal philosophy and not dwelling on negativity; a part of doing that has happily led to me distancing myself from an emotional involvement in politics.
I’ve tried to force myself to be ignorant of the broken democracy that the rest of my world appears to be addicted to.
Thankfully this particular post is not loaded with personal politics; this post is more of a warning to the incurious.
TL:DR – There is evidence that big money is using NLP style techniques to control modern-day western politics. I provide links to relevant stories and so forth.
A good while before Theresa May announced her desire to call an early General Election, thus solidifying my newfound interest in UK politics, I read an article online that genuinely opened my eyes – and I mean that in a “Wake up sheeple!” way.
The article discussed a UK based technology company that combined big-data-analysis of social media behaviour with a mix of Myers-Briggs profiling and other techniques to create in depth personality profiles of social media users.
The article then went on to allege and in some way demonstrate that this social media psychological profiling was used by the “Leave” campaign to target voters with advertising tailored specifically to their psychological profile and thus control their vote.
The article continues to explain how the same techniques were used by the “Trump” campaign towards the end of the US presidential elections, controlling the voting decisions of an unwary American electorate.
in other words, the winning teams in both campaigns are alleged to have won their campaigns by using advanced psychological techniques to tell us how to vote.
This is just like Derren Brown planting a suggestion using the art or neuro-linguistic programming; these people removed the free will of their targets in the same way that subliminal advertising did in the late 1950’s.
Far fetched huh? Well, not as far fetched as you might think.
I remember following links in that article that allowed me to sync my Facebook profile with them and calculate my Myers-Briggs profile.
An example of this technology can be found here – but you have to log in using Facebook and/or Twitter – there is a companion profile site that allows you to compare your profile based on more traditional tests.
The technology is somewhat flawed insofar as it calculates me as being a decade younger and an earlier run through had me as being more extrovert than I am in reality – I suppose we’re all braver behind a keyboard.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is now allegedly investigating Cambridge Analytica’s involvement and it looks like some pretty serious levels of legal shenanigans is involved.
I can’t find the original article, in true tin-foil-hat style, I regularly clear my browsing history and despite discussing this with a number of people over the last few months, I’ve lost the original link.
To be honest, the original could be wrapped up in the links below – I’ve read so much on this lately that it all melts into one huge dysptopian-data-stew.
The latest conspiracy from my personal echo chamber is that many of my leftist friends and fellow libtards are now receiving right wing advertising on Facebook: Pro-Conservative, anti-immigration advertisements and the like.
Not everyone is seeing these and there is some discussion as to whether it is only our echo-chamber-mates that live in marginal constituencies.
The story has continued and you can read more about this in a number of articles:
- 2nd March 2017 – Electoral Commission urged to investigate Farage’s Brexit campaign (Guardian)
- 4th March 2017 – Did Cambridge Analytica influence the Brexit vote and the US election? (Guardian)
- 4th March 2017 – Watchdog to investigate inquiry into misuse of data in politics – (Guardian)
- 5th March 2017 – ICO assessing political use of public’s private data (BBC)
- 7th May 2017 – The Great British Brexit Robbery: How our democracy was hijacked (Guardian)
- 14th May 2017 – Follow the data: Doesa legal document link Brexit campaigns to a US billionaire? (Guardian)
- 17th May 2017 – Inquiry launched into targeting of UK voters through social media (Guardian)
- 17th May 2017 – The Information Commissioner opens a formal investigation into the use of data analytics for political purposes (ICO Blog)
- 19th May 2017 – Facebook ‘dark ads’ will win this election for the Tories – unless you do something about it (Independent)
I highly recommend trawling through the articles above.
In a few weeks we go to the polls again and so far over 2 million people who were not previously registered to vote have now registered.
How many of us can be sure we’re making our own mark on the ballot paper?
Can we be sure that we’re not just reacting to some kind of Manchurian urge implanted into us whilst we daydream our way through memes and links on social media?