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Facebook is a powerful tool of great geopolitics

Facebook is a powerful tool of great geopolitics

Tags: Social networks, Analytics, Politics

Behind the smokescreen of the Ukrainian show with the arrest of Nadia Savchenko and a European, no less exciting, spectacle with the poisoning of the "Russian ex-scout" and subsequent diplomatic consequences, the main world scandal - the influence of the British company Cambridge Analitica on "democratic" elections around the world over the past decades.

In 2017, the first time journalists published the investigation data, from which the connection between the people from the Trump team and "Cambridge Analytics" was clearly traced. Let me remind you, Trump's victory turned out to be completely unexpected both for world politics and for the Americans themselves. In this connection, the active search for the "Moscow's hand", which has intervened in the American elections, continues to this day. However, even with the greatest desire to find at least some, let indirect evidence, US special services have not yet provided any convincing facts of such interference.

But just the other day Western media published several new investigations, based not only on "data from anonymous sources", but also on very specific interviews with company employees and videos with a front-line client and a leading employee of Cambridge Analytics. From the results of the investigation it is obvious that the British company has actively manipulated voters around the world over the past few decades, influencing their choice with the help of IT-technologies based on personal data stolen from social networks.

First, let's see how this happens. The user registers in the social network, voluntarily fills in the forms on his page, where he writes interests, data about places of study and work, finds his real friends and adds "to friends" in the social network. Many people like to brag about where they rested and what they bought, place photos. You add yourself groups of interests, mark publications that you like, write your own. All this is personal information that can be hidden from outsiders, leaving access only for those who are "friends" and ... administrators of the social network.

Administration of the social network clearly knows how many of its users are included in each age group and how all other sociological data are distributed. At the same time, the social network has a "feedback" - you are offered "groups that you might like", "a video that you might like" and so on, based on your previous choice.

At the same time, do not forget that if some social networks, for example, "VKontakte" and "Classmates" you can keep anonymity by inventing a "nickname" like "Star Star" and use a SIM card for registration without a passport and a specially created mail , also without reference to real personal data, then on the Facebook network you will be asked to give a real name, a real photo, and several, and with the slightest doubts that the administration constantly has, and a photo of your passport. Of course, the company assures you of the utmost confidentiality of the information provided.

Six months ago, 27 June 2017, the founder of the social network Facebook Mark Zuckerberg said that the number of accounts in it reached two billion. Of the total population of the earth in 7,5 billion. Minus one and a half billion people in China, where American social networks are blocked by the state. They are not forbidden, some Chinese people are able to circumvent technical obstacles, but in general, there is no mass use in fact. As it turned out, the Chinese authorities showed astonishing insight by taking these measures. However, they then accused the American social networks of interfering in the elections.

So, 2 billion from 6 is a third of the world's population, whose real personal data is stored by the Facebook administration. And this is the data of the most advanced, active users from well-developed countries, where the majority of citizens can buy a computer or a smartphone, at least. Facebook is actively used by residents of all countries who are interested or may be interested in those who really manage the world geopolitics and processes in it. Can these people ignore such a powerful weapon of mass manipulation? Here the question is rather in another. Social networks have emerged on an equal footing and not naturally. This weapon was created especially, filigree using all human weaknesses and vices.

By the way, the ban on "Russian social networks" in Ukraine and the virtual forcible transfer of all Ukrainian users to American Facebook, tightly controlled by "specially assigned people", from the same opera. Try to criticize the Ukrainian authorities, Jews and American democracy in Facebook - immediately lose the page, and the second time on this passport or on the same data you will not be registered. The only thing when this network does not react to direct insults, mats, "inciting hatred on an interethnic basis" is if they insult Russia, Russians and Putin personally.

"Excellent" network, is not it? But back to the world scandal.

"The British The Guardian managed to interview Christopher Vale, an employee of Cambridge Analytics, who, he said, developed an algorithm for working with data from social network users that could influence their political choices. Vail in 2013 met with investment banker Stephen Bennon, who later will head the election headquarters of Donald Trump. Bennon and his partner - British billionaire Robert Mercer - were ardent supporters of Brexit. And the candidacy of the young Canadian IT specialist Veil interested them precisely in this way: to push the idea of ​​Britain's withdrawal from the EU into the masses, "writes the publication" Country "in a large article devoted to this issue.

The Guardian also mentions the piquant details, the allegedly not the least role in the choice of Veil's candidacy was played by his orientation, although in leading European and American media it is considered bad form to touch upon the issue of the gay lobby.
However, Vail did not really offer anything radically new, so it's possible that this particular feature played a key role. The idea to use the principles of commercial advertising in the political, using personal data of the consumer, can not be considered revolutionary.

The question was just where to get such massive data. Only two companies have such an array - Google and Facebook. At the same time, the former carefully stores them, while the latter is more open for their illegal receipt. So writes the British edition. That is, the management of Facebook, as it were, has nothing to do with it.

With the help of special manipulative technologies, the newspaper writes, both the results of the vote on the withdrawal of Britain from the EU and the election of the American president were influenced. We will not be delayed in this article on technical details to save time, you can always find them on the internet yourself.
After the publication of this article, as well as several other journalistic investigations on this topic in the Western press, several serious consequences arose.

Immediately collapsed shares of the company "Facebook", which allowed the leakage of personal data of tens of millions of users. According to various sources, from 4% to 6,8%, the company did not know such collapse for the whole time of its existence. The founder of the company Mark Zuckerberg, according to press assurances, lost up to 7,5 billion dollars.

Reputational risks are difficult to assess in full, but the EU has already started talking about recommendations for its citizens to leave the scandalous social network for security reasons. Tens of millions of users close their accounts and leave the network, with no exact data yet, as hysteria continues, along with massive "evacuation."

The question remains about the involvement of the company's management in the process of illegal use of personal data. Of course, Zuckerberg publicly apologized to users, the scandal was followed by loud layoffs in the company, and financial and reputational losses were initially predictable.

However, there are a number of interesting coincidences. First, despite previous publications in connection with the influence of the American president on the election, Cambridge Analitica's page was removed by the Facebook authorities only six months later, right now. Until then, her activities in the social network for data collection with the help of special applications continued.

Secondly, shortly before the thundering "exposure", Zuckerberg sold a significant portion of his shares. Here is what the MarketWatch publication writes about this:

"The paper lost $ 12,53 per day, the sharpest decline in their price from Facebook's IPO in May 2012. The company's capitalization declined by almost $ 40 billion. The collapse was caused by information about the British company Cambridge Analytica, which had access to personal data 51,3 million users of social networks. Since the beginning of 2018, Zuckerberg has sold about 4,9 million shares of Facebook. Taking into account the weighted average price in the documents submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the United States, he earned about $ 900 million on these transactions. After the fall of 19 March, the value of these securities would be $ 855 million. "

Do not be embarrassed by the phrase about reducing the capitalization of the company by 40 billion dollars. This money is not personally Zuckerberg. Yes, and "earned", almost a billion, he still spent on the needs of the charity, as his spokesman says. Can afford.

When people own sums of money of astronomical proportions, money itself ceases to be of paramount importance for them. The need for power comes first. The power to "elect" the hands of the American president controlled by millions of people, the authorities to determine the fate of the countries and the world redistribution - this is what is important for the richest people in the world.

Moreover, to translate arrows after the onset of the consequences, the image of "the enemy guilty of all ills" - Russia - was painstakingly created in advance. For the "demonization" of Russia and its president, for many years the influence of all known manipulative technologies was openly directed. "The Russian trace" is still actively sought in the American elections, in Brexit, and in other "troubles", including bad weather. They are even looking for these days, when it is obvious that the ubiquitous "hand of the Kremlin" turned out to be "the hand of London".

However, one of the applications for collecting personal data was really proposed and created by a native of Russia Alexander Kogan, a professor at Cambridge University. He first assembled and sold Cambridge Analytics an impressive array of processed data, then continued to create similar ones already in close cooperation with them. But all this even with great stretch is incredibly attributed to the Kremlin.

At this point, the "leakage of personal data" is being investigated by the US Federal Trade Commission, which protects consumer rights and deals with monopolists. In addition, the head of Facebook has already been called by the British Parliament's committee to testify about his company's connections with Cambridge Analytica.

Concerns are expressed also by representatives of the EU, and the European Parliament, and the Government of Great Britain. The scandal is in full swing. "Cambridge Analytics" will be checked for storing stolen data and using it for other purposes.

Western journalists, meanwhile, have already found out and published other, equally "entertaining" stories.

British channel Channel 4 conducted its own journalistic investigation and created a documentary that was released at the same time as The Guardian.

Having sent to the "Cambridge Analytics" a dummy "customer" -indus with an "order" to win elections in one of the Indian provinces, the journalists withdrew the meetings of the "client" with the company's director Alexander Nikes with a hidden camera.

Nix quite frankly told the client that in addition to analytics, the company successfully deals with any pre-election technologies, not disdaining black PR and manipulation.

"You can send girls to the opponent's house, we have the experience of many such things ... It's just an idea. For example, we can bring Ukrainian girls with us for the weekend ... They are very beautiful, and it works very well, "Knicks said frankly, describing the options for" setting up "a competitor. Then the received photos and video materials are distributed using the targeted sample from social networks, taking into account the personal data of each user.

Among the company's achievements, its director boasted a two-time victory in the presidential election in Kenya, despite his corruption scandals. "It is not necessary that any thing be true, the main thing is that they believe in it," Nykes summed up, who was immediately retired after the material was released.

With reference to this film from Channel 4, the world-famous "BBC" also published its materials. The material says that Cambridge Analytics, or rather its parent company Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL), which worked since 90-ies, was active in Ukraine. The earliest mention of cooperation during the "Orange Revolution" and bringing to power of President Yushchenko, whose "victory" the company gives as a result of its fruitful work.

Journalists point to a supposed factual error in describing the situation in the SCL portfolio. It says that the "orange coalition" appealed to them for help in 2004 year after the dissolution of the parliament, while this dissolution took place already in 2007 year. But after all, it looks like the company saved the political situation in the country at a critical moment, rather than climbed with its dirty paws and helped to change the legitimate authority on the adventurers who paid it, which began the collapse and robbery of Ukraine. And somehow it turns out that it was not the people who voluntarily chose this "orange gang" ...

"As part of a multinational team of consultants, with the help of modern research and effective methods of campaign intervention, SCL has retained the coalition's cohesion to ensure victory in the hard struggle," the company's website said. Methods of intervention in the election campaign, modern and effective. Manipulative. Democracy is the most progressive social system, is not it? Who climbed into the brain to the voter, managed to control it, like a puppet, a puppet, and he will rob him until the next election. Fervent greetings to "non-Arabs".

There is also a more modern history of cooperation between SCL and Ukraine. It concerns an agreement concluded between the Ukrainian authorities and the company on the collection of information, analysis and development of a strategy for the return of the territories of the self-proclaimed republics of Donbass under the control of Kiev.

Analyzing the data, analysts came to the conclusion that there is practically no support for Kiev in these areas, and the desire to live in a single country does not extend to the current Kyiv authorities. In other words, the peaceful return of the region is almost impossible at the moment, and any "nationwide communication information campaign" in the region is likely to fail.

But do not think that the experts on mass manipulation dropped their hands and missed the order. "These findings were used to develop localized communication campaigns to weaken DNR," the company said on its website.

That is, the work will take place in several stages, the first of which will be the "weakening of the NDP", in the sense of discrediting and black PR. Let me remind you of the motto of the director of Cambridge Analyst, Mr. Nix, quoted above: "It is not necessary that some thing be true, the main thing is that they believe in it."

But what about world-wide revelations in the context of world politics?

Let's say that the intervention of a British company in the election of President Trump will be proved. But after all, Obama's elections were held in close cooperation with the same firm. Let's say, prove her involvement in the results of Brexit - the vote of the British for secession from the EU. Will they hold a new referendum?

On the proceedings in the manipulation of voters in Ukraine and other countries that are not part of the company who declared themselves to be the main ones, and there is no question. Well, they chose you, not you. Do not be distracted, download higher and fancier.
Will the attitude towards Russia be changed due to the fact that the hand manipulating the world turned out to be not Russian, but British? It is unlikely. Most likely, they will "find" some Russian roots from the leaders of SCL, Cambridge Analyst and the entire Facebook management, starting with Zuckerberg. In short, something come up. And they themselves are taken for the "Faberge" analysts, in exchange for the loyalty of the special services conducting the investigation.

Fugitive American intelligence officer Edward Snowden commented on the scandal with data collection.

"Mark Zuckerberg's companies should not be made a victim of the circumstances," a former employee of the US National Security Agency wrote to himself on Twitter. "Facebook makes money using and selling intimate details about the private lives of millions of people who are far beyond the meager details that you voluntarily publish. They are not victims. They are accomplices. Companies that earn money, collecting and selling detailed data on privacy, were once clearly described as "intelligence companies". Their re-branding as "social media" is the most successful fraud ever since the military department became the Ministry of Defense "

, - concluded Snowden.

Let me remind the reader who had the patience to get to this place of a long article that Facebook as a company and personally Zuckerberg for several years bought out other social networks and instant messengers, Twitter, WatsApp, Instagram. Consequently, the probability is high that the personal data of the users of these networks are also actively used for mass manipulation for advertising and political purposes.

"Facebook - this is just the tip of the iceberg of digital surveillance for people," say in the organization Privacy International, which is quoted by the BBC. "You can delete an account in this social network, but using the same smartphone makes you almost defenseless before customers who are ready to buy up personal data sets."

Most likely, very soon the scandal will be continued in the form of new details, because employees dismissed in connection with it, Facebook and Cambridge Analyst know much more than it came to the surface. And Western journalists are able to motivate scandalous revelations of those dismissed from various organizations.

Natalka Nik
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