“If we got one person to download the app, it would pull, you know, 200, 300 records, and that would scale really quickly,” Wylie said.
“Facebook granted permission for the app,” Wylie said. “They knew what the app was doing. They just didn’t necessarily know what it was for.”
But it wasn’t just the information people willingly volunteered in their profiles that Cambridge Analytica was after. It was also what they “liked” — such things as music, movies, foods and books. Turns out, it speaks volumes.
Just ‘like’ that
Kosinski’s algorithm was able to predict whether a person was black or white with 95% accuracy, male or female with 93% accuracy, gay or straight with 88% accuracy and Democrat or Republican with 85% accuracy.
What I ‘like’ about you
All of the data scraped from your Facebook profile are useful for understanding who you are “at a micro level,” said Summers, who was not involved with Kosinski’s research. “I want to understand who John Smith is and what are the decisions that John Smith will make, given the right stimulus and imagery.”
Summers said to think of the old way people were targeted as a sort of “town square.” Someone would yell a message as loud as they could, hoping as many people as possible would hear him or her. Everyone was receiving the same message.
In this new age of micro-targeting, people are subjected to “whisper campaigns,” Summers said. The message everyone sees or hears can be tailored to the precise trigger that will make them click a certain page, buy a particular product or even vote for a political candidate.
Are there some people who are more persuadable than others?
“Absolutely,” Summers said, “and that’s where psychographics comes in.”
“With the right imagery and the right content, context and nuance, and with the right social media campaign … you can get just about anyone to click on just about anything,” Summers said.
‘Like’ it never even happened
“If you’re leaving digital breadcrumbs online and living a digital life, as all of us are, you’re constantly giving data points,” Summers said. “Our smartphones, our computers, our email, the big companies — Amazon, Google, Facebook — they’re collecting data on us every single step of the way.”
“Find out who’s looking at you, who’s psychographically profiling you,” Summers said. “Who’s trying to figure out and predict your behaviors?”
Only then can you truly understand the cognitive strategies being used to target you — and how you can outsmart them.
News credit : Cnn