March 23, 2018

"The political action committee founded by John R. Bolton, President Trump’s incoming national security adviser, was one of the earliest customers of Cambridge Analytica...."

"... which it hired specifically to develop psychological profiles of voters with data harvested from tens of millions of Facebook profiles, according to former Cambridge employees and company documents.... The contract broadly describes the services to be delivered by Cambridge as 'behavioral microtargeting with psychographic messaging.'... 'The Bolton PAC was obsessed with how America was becoming limp wristed and spineless and it wanted research and messaging for national security issues,” [said Christopher Wylie, a data expert who was part of the team that founded Cambridge Analytica]. 'That really meant making people more militaristic in their worldview,' he added. 'That’s what they said they wanted, anyway.' Using the psychographic models, Cambridge helped design concepts for advertisements for candidates supported by Mr. Bolton’s PAC.... One advertisement, a video that was posted on YouTube, was aimed at people who scored high for conscientiousness, and were thought to respect hard work and experience. It emphasized Mr. Bolton’s time working for Ronald Reagan and how [a candidate] embodied the spirit and political ethos of the late president."

From "Bolton Was Early Beneficiary of Cambridge Analytica’s Facebook Data" (NYT).

42 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Isn't that a good thing? That he was head of a PAC that used modern methods? That he's aware of such things?

Oh wait -- never mind. Scary Republican!

Anonymous said...

I guess they're gonna mine as much point-and-sputter outta CA as they can.

Not at all thrilled with Bolton as NSA, though.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Only democrats are allowed to benefit from Facebook data.

bleh said...

Anything conservatives do in politics is automatically nefarious, linked to white supremacists and manipulated by Putin's troll farms. CA signed its own death warrant when it chose to do business with conservatives. And the print media eats it up because (1) online/social media is an existential threat to print media and (2) conservatives are baaaaaaaaaaad.

rcocean said...

Cambridge analytic - the new made up "Trump Scandal" - that is extremely boring.

If it hurts Facebook = good. But its dull.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

This latest point of hysteria is absolutely the most amusing yet.
When the Obama 2012 campaign made extensive use of Facebook data (going so far as to say Facebook was "on their side" and expressing surprise they were allowed to take as much data as they were) the NYTimes & Media hailed them as smarter & more modern--they praised the Big Data smarts of the brilliant Obama team. When a small firm (ultimately responsible for only abut $5M in ads) working in the early days of the Trump campaign uses some similar data it's "these people manipulated innocent Facebook users to swing the election" and other ridiculous nonsense. NPR has been on the story for 4 days solid!
Beyond parody.
It was the racist rural voters!
No, it was the scheming FBI!
No, it was the Russians!
No, it was a tiny data group that used dark magic to manipulate the result!

For heavens sake, guys, Hillary was just a terrible candidate. Like, a historically bad candidate. You spent so much effort building up Trump so that Hillary would have an easy win that you didn't stop to consider whether she was any good. She wasn't, she lost, and the big manipulation was the HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of free advertising you idiots did FOR Trump! You were too clever by half and ended up helping him win...the blind shrieking terror with which you grasp onto any excuse to face that obvious fact is just too damn funny.

Keep it up!

jwl said...

The Federalst - Cambridge Analytica is Juicero of Political Data Firms:

“This is the real world, not a spy novel. And in the real world, what Cambridge Analytica was promising simply doesn’t work,” said Republican data consultant Patrick Ruffini. “Their role was downgraded on every major campaign they’ve worked on, including the Trump campaign and the Cruz campaign, when it was clear they couldn’t deliver on what they were selling. These concerns were well known in Republican circles prior to 2016.”

“Cambridge Analytica is completely inept,” another Republican campaign consultant said. “I refused to hire them because after the sales pitch in the lovely British accent, Nix couldn’t sufficiently answer any questions or satisfactorily back up any of his fanciful claims. I concluded that he was a snake oil salesman incapable of helping anyone win or lose an election.”

http://thefederalist.com/2018/03/22/cambridge-analytica-is-the-juicero-of-political-data-firms/#.WrPjAPbyOfo.twitter

Rick said...

This latest point of hysteria is absolutely the most amusing yet.

They are exposing their paranoia and inability to grasp reality to more people every day. Even people who don't want to know are being forced to accept it. Seriously, they turned into Birchers after Obama said "he'd have more flexibility after the election" and "the 80s want their foreign policy back". Then they turned around and went back to the 50s.

I need more popcorn.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

* Dark Data *

Snark said...

"Cambridge analytic - the new made up "Trump Scandal" - that is extremely boring."

I've thought for a long time now that if any evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia is turned up it will center around data provision. This could be the beginning of that. Or not.

Kevin said...

Shorter title: "What Can We Write To Distract You From Mueller's Failures?"

traditionalguy said...

Bolton is a winner. So he prepares by studying the enemy's tactics. Like Patton studied Rommel's book on infantry tactics.

We won't need a wall. Just put Bolton on the Border and he will kill or capture all the illegals until they give up.

jr565 said...

'mbridge as 'behavioral microtargeting with psychographic messaging.'." this is jargon for "MARKETING" how is what Cambridge A.did any different than what Obamas team did. thats how online marketing works, frankly.

Henry said...

The next rock turned over will reveal that Cambridge Analytica were the ones that wafted the smell of buttered popcorn through movie theater vents.

* * *

Given Mr. Wylie's description about Mr. Bolton's goals, is the article about Cambridge Analytica's spectacular failure?

* * *

Cambridge Analytica invented New Coke.

Henry said...

Cambridge Analytica named the Edsel.

CJinPA said...

Serious Question: Did we establish that Obama did the same thing in 2012 or not?

I thought that was reported but it seems not to have affected the narrative at all.

Wince said...

data harvested from tens of millions of Facebook profiles

You're going to have to translate for me.

Does "harvest" mean Facebook either sold or granted the access to the data?

Lewis Wetzel said...

I did a "WHOIS" lookup on the domain name "https://cambridgeanalytica.org/."
It said the Domain Name is owned by "The Man on the Grassy Knoll."
Very, very scary. Wheels within wheels, my friend, wheels within wheels.

Lewis Wetzel said...

EDH said:
"Does 'harvest' mean Facebook either sold or granted the access to the data?"
If they used the term "blood harvest", it means we are deep in Cthulu territory.
Y'AI 'NG'NGAH, YOG-SOTHOTH H'EE-L'GEB F'AI THRODOG UAAAH!

Wince said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this kind of "big data" analytical work the hot new career path for Millennials?

This kind of hysteria can be good for them.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Does anyone who doesn't devote hours a day to reading about this crap and putting up a Rusty Cohle-style string diagram in a storage unit give two shits about it?* The answer is no, so the media can keep publishing story after story of this arcane nonsense and the man on the street can continue paying zero attention and spending the extra money in his paycheck since the tax cuts.


*Hostess exempt from my derision. I am referring to the journalists, leftists and merry band of social media addicts who pantysplash over these 'revelations.'

Ralph L said...

A new use for all those leftover computer punch cards--shaping them into 300 million backbones.

Everything I've read lately says the UK is well on its way to dhimmitude.

Infinite Monkeys said...

The way they talk about a former client seems very close to gossip and comes across as tacky to me.

Paul Snively said...

I'd be a lot happier if this all didn't sound to me, as a web developer for the past couple of decades, like Trump's political opposition suddenly waking up and realizing their boy Obama not only wasn't the only one who could do targeted political marketing, he wasn't even remotely the first to do so.

Folks, targeted digital advertising:

1. Has been around for decades.
2. Is how literally every "free" service on the internet is funded.
3. Is of questionable efficacy.
4. Can't be changed without gutting constitutionally-protected freedom of expression.

That's literally all there is to say about it.

chuck said...

2014? That horse was out the door and gamboling in the field with Obama well before that. The only thing new is the NY Times working to demonize Cambridge Analytica. Not that the NY Times ginning up mob action is anything new either.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Paul Snively said...

4. Can't be changed without gutting constitutionally-protected freedom of expression.

You see that as an obstacle. The left sees it as an opportunity.

Rick said...

EDH said...
This kind of hysteria can be good for them.


Reminds me of Y2K.

JohnAnnArbor said...

You see that as an obstacle. The left sees it as an opportunity.

Remember the old lefty bumper sticker? "No, you can't have my rights, I'm not finished with them yet."

Sounds like that's just as situational as everything else to them.

Emil Blatz said...

Ditto Paul Snively.

It's amazing to me that the news media has its lunch eaten financially by new technologies and still hasn't learned what it was that steamrollered them. I worked in "big data" before it was cool, and yes, this stuff has been around for a long time. The only thing new is how much easier it is to collect data from which to build models. You would have to be very lazy not to know it, but that would be journalists.

Wince said...

Rick said...
EDH said...
This kind of hysteria can be good for them.

Reminds me of Y2K.


Actually, I meant to say can't, but maybe there is an upside?

Luke Lea said...

The Pavlovian theory of voter persuasion.

Tank said...

Bolton is like Obama.

The Godfather said...

Thanks @Paul Snively, that's kind of what I thought about mining Facebook data, but I'm no expert, and it sounds like you are (one of the reasons I like this blog is that there are commenters here who actually know something about the subjects under discussion -- not ALL commenters, and not ALL subjects, of course).

wildswan said...

So I looked up Cambridge Analytica on Whois and didn't find "the man on the grassy Knoll" Am I missing something? Was that just a joke about media conspiracy theories?

https://who.is/dns/cambridgeanalytica.org

wildswan said...

The US government has program called Big Data to Knowledge - BD2K - which ostensibly aims to unify various medical databases in the interest of better medicine. (We are from the government and we are here to help you.) But the program research called for unifying formats from social media, phones and e-mails into one big database accessible to students of behavioral medicine - that is, those who wish to change behavior. And these social databases were to be unified with genetic databases ("Oh, grandma government, what strangely glittering eyes you have," said Little Red State Hen. "The better to help you, my dear," snarled the woke wolf.) And NIH has made no effort whatsoever to exclude researchers associated with the American eugenics society from this sort of research. In fact, biodemographers and neo-social biologists are taking the lead. This all means that in reality the blacks are in for another pounding from racist social scientists. But, because it will be coming in different language, it will seem in wokeland that the whites are being pounded for harming the blacks - for making the blacks inferior by meanie microagressions which alter genes epigenetically. To protect against this epigenetic damage segregation(=safe spaces) is necessary for the blacks. Segregation: It's really doing blacks a favor. As Woodrow Wilson said long ago. As the segregationists said in the Fifties.

Steve said...

You could say the left is now much more militaristic --- in opposition to the dastardly Russians. Bolton succeeded!

Snark said...

There is potential sketchiness in this story. Russian American writes a Facebook quiz specifically to harvest data, and exploits a flaw in the Facebook API that also then exposes the raw data of all the friends of those who fill out the quiz. He then sells it to Cambridge Analytica, which was against his agreement with Facebook. Separately, Cambridge Analytica CEO reaches out to Julian Assange about hacked emails. Bannon wound up in it all as VP at CA and as advisor to Trump. There are still things to untangle here, and things that probably still remain unknown. Don't celebrate just yet.

Lucien said...

Russians (er... Russian-Americans, is that a hyphenated thing these days) and Cambridge Analytica! Boogie boogie boogie!

FFS.

Darrell said...

Did Cambridge Analytica create "I don't see why I'm not fifty points ahead" strategy? Because that really gets the peons on your side.

Lucien said...

And I forgot... Julian Assange! Boogie boogie boogie!

Jesus H. Christ.

Lucien said...

But ultimately, this is the strategy. Mutter darkly about Russians. Mutter darkly about CA. If enough friendly news outlets (like taxpayer-funded NPR) run enough stories muttering about how it all seems suspicious, maybe it will persuade some independent voters that where there's that much smoke, there must be a fire.

Roll in Julian Assange and Steve Bannon in the muttering - some independents may recognize the names and see more smoke.

The sad thing is, this shit works on some people.

Achilles said...

Lucien said...

The sad thing is, this shit works on some people.

Are you calling snark an idiot?

I think he is joking.