Be wary of who occupies your mind – houston chronicle h2 database url

The offices of cambridge analytica (CA) in central london, after it was announced that britain’s information commissioner elizabeth denham is pursuing a warrant to search cambridge analytica‘s computer servers, tuesday march 20, 2018. Denham said tuesday that she is using all her legal powers to investigate facebook and political campaign consultants cambridge analytica over the alleged misuse of millions of people’s data. Cambridge analytica said it is committed to helping the U.K. Investigation. (kirsty O’connor/PA via AP) less

(FILES) in this file photo taken on june 24, 2016 facebook CEO and founder mark zuckerberg speaks during a discussion at the global entrepreneurship summit at stanford university in palo alto, california.Cambridge analytica facebook shares plunged march 19, 2018 as the social media giant was pounded by criticism at home and abroad over revelations that a firm working for donald trump’s presidential campaign harvested and misused data on 50 million members.Calls for investigations came on both sides of the atlantic after facebook responded to explosive reports of misuse of its data by suspending the account of cambridge analytica, a british firm hired by trump’s 2016 campaign.Democratic senator amy klobuchar and republican john kennedy called for facebook chief mark zuckerberg to appear before congress, along with google and twitter’s ceos. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGANMANDEL NGAN/AFP/getty images less

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(FILES) in this file photo taken on november 20, 2017 A picture taken on november 20, 2017 shows logos of US online social media and social networking service facebook. Cambridge analytica is a private company for strategic communication and data analysis at the heart of a scandal over the use of personal data collected on facebook. A subsidiary of strategic communications laboratories (SCL), cambridge analytica (CA) has offices in new york, washington and london and is directed by alexander nix. / AFP PHOTO / LOIC VENANCELOIC VENANCE/AFP/getty images less

(FILES) in this file photo taken on february 27, 2018 A video grab from footage broadcast by the UK parliament’s parliamentary recording unit (PRU) on february 27, 2018 shows chief executive, cambridge analytica, alexander nix, giving evidence to the digital, culture, media and sport committee of members of parliament on the subject of fake news at the houses of parliament in london on february 27, 2018.February 2018 cambridge analytica is a private company for strategic communication and data analysis at the heart of a scandal over the use of personal data collected on facebook. A subsidiary of strategic communications laboratories (SCL), cambridge analytica (CA) has offices in new york, washington and london and is directed by alexander nix. / AFP PHOTO / PRU / HO / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – MANDATORY CREDIT " AFP PHOTO / PRU " – NO USE FOR ENTERTAINMENT, SATIRICAL, MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNSHO/AFP/getty images less

Over the weekend, london’s observer newspaper revealed how a data firm leveraged facebook user data to manipulate how voters think about our most important civic issues.February 2018 it’s not illegal, but maybe it should be.

The implicit bargain of social media companies is that in return for allowing them to collect data about your likes, dislikes and habits, they provide a global forum that is paid for with advertisements that you will find useful. The more data you provide, the more accurate the ads and the more money social media companies make from advertising.

Facebook allowed third parties for years to use quizzes to learn more about your personality. If you took a quiz, you allowed access to your facebook profile and revealed all kinds of things about your personality. To gain those insights, the quiz might ask which character from the 1980s’ coming of age movie “the breakfast club” is most like you.Cambridge analytica

By combining this data with your credit history and dozens of other private databases, an advertising firm can create a very accurate dossier of you and extrapolate your profile to millions of others who didn’t take the quiz, a science called psychographics. If the ads that facebook and google show you are laughably inappropriate, congratulations, you’ve stumped the machines. If the ads are eerily accurate, they’ve got you.

If the only goal was to show you a useful ad, that’s not a bad thing. But it gets insidious when you apply behavioral psychology to the profiles to begin manipulating people.

Marketers have long used neuroscience to better understand what types of messages can change consumer behavior.February 2018 they know fear and perceived injustice, for example, can be powerful motivators, as machiavelli told us centuries ago.

The observer revealed how cambridge analytica, a U.K.-based data firm, took data from 50 million facebook users and used it to target people with political messages, some of which included disinformation. The united kingdom’s brexit campaign and president donald trump’s political committee were among the company’s clients.

Those campaigns then paid facebook and other social media companies to precisely deliver these ads to people most likely to believe them. These campaigns occupied the minds of hundreds of thousands of people who shared these ads with the like-minded, spreading the virus further.Social media

“we exploited facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles. And built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons,” said christopher wylie, who worked with a cambridge university academic to obtain the data, according to the observer.

Cambridge analytica is not the only firm to do this. Russian agents are using the same methods to destabilize our country. Last year, they even convinced 60 people to protest against each other outside a houston islamic center. And while cambridge analytica worked for conservative causes, there is nothing to stop a liberal group from using the same tools.

The past two years have shown us how corporations, politicians and agitators have the technology to mess with our minds.February 2018 their techniques will certainly become more subtle and more dangerous.

There is an alternative to getting your news from mysterious websites relayed by social media, and you are reading one right now. Our only goal is to provide useful information that you think is worthy of the subscription price. We promise you the facts, whether they please you or not, and we don’t hide our identities.

Congress will soon hold hearings on how our personal data is being used against us in nefarious ways. A key issue is that your information belongs to the company that collects it, not to you. That limits what actions you can take when it is misused or stolen.

Social media

American lawmakers should consider a version of europe’s general data protection regulation, which gives citizens control of their personal data. Our information should belong to us so that we can take it away from companies who abuse it.

Social media sites have become our public square, with twitter serving as a soapbox and facebook where we talk about the day’s news. Oratory, whether in-person or via the internet, can be used for good or evil, and the audience must ultimately decide whom to trust.

Secretly using our personal information to covertly manipulate our behavior is something entirely different, and congress should make it illegal.

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