What the Cambridge Analytica scandal means for Facebookers
News just broke that psychographic profiling firm Cambridge Analytica has been banned from Facebook. The company has been accused of unethically taking information from more than 50 million Facebook users in order to gain insight into voting behavior.
Marcus Harris, technology attorney for Taft Stettinius & Hollister, says, “Cambridge Analytica acquired information about Facebook users without going through the appropriate channels. They used this information to not only help to predict voting behavior, but also to help then-presidential candidate Donald Trump take advantage of certain key demographics.”
Harris says that Cambridge Analytica used methods such as offering Facebook users ‘free personality quizzes’ in order to gain insight into their political beliefs and assess areas of weakness which could potentially be utilized by Trump and other political candidates like Ben Carson and Ted Cruz, both of whom Cambridge Analytica worked for in the past.
“These Facebook quizzes and polls are so ubiquitous. They seem harmless and fun, and when you’re trying to waste 20 minutes on the train, it can seem like a good time. However, the reality is that your information is being bought and sold, whether we are talking about Cambridge Analytica or other corporate entities,” says Harris.
The technology attorney continues, “I would warn Facebook users to be very careful about anything they do on Facebook, whether it’s ‘liking’ a T-shirt page, completing a “Which Friends’ Character Are You?” quiz, or even participating in a friend’s poll about your favorite band. This might sound paranoid, but the reality is that every single thing you are doing on Facebook is being watched and monetized. What is really scary is that not only corporations unethically taking our information, but they are then taking this intimate knowledge and using it to manipulate us into thinking, feeling, shopping and even voting how they desire.”
-Prime Media Management