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Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America (2019)

de Christopher Wylie

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2811294,384 (4.24)1
"Mindf*ck goes deep inside Cambridge Analytica's "American operations," which were driven by Steve Bannon's vision to remake America and fueled by mysterious billionaire Robert Mercer's money, as it weaponized and wielded the massive store of data it had harvested on individuals--in excess of 87 million--to disunite the United States and set Americans against each other. Bannon had long sensed that deep within America's soul lurked an explosive tension. Cambridge Analytica had the data to prove it, and in 2016 Bannon had a presidential campaign to use as his proving ground."--Amazon.… (mais)
  1. 00
    Crime in Progress: Inside the Steele Dossier and the Fusion GPS Investigation of Donald Trump de Glenn Simpson (M_Clark)
    M_Clark: This helps complete the story in Mindf*ck with its story of Fusion GPS and the creation of the Steele Dossier.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 12 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
This is like reading the most dystopian science fiction novel ever written... except it's true. ( )
  lemontwist | Sep 26, 2021 |
illuminating ( )
  hueyy | Jul 13, 2021 |
Super quick read. Fascinating for both the layman and those who work in the field of data science ( )
  JeremyBrashaw | May 30, 2021 |
Sometimes you've got to rate a book for its importance above all else. MindF*ck is such a book. It consumed my mental bandwidth and left me wanting to learn more. It changed how I engage with social media and will stay with me long after I put it down. Despite some significant flaws, MindF*ck is getting a 5/5.

Its content and insight are the book’s best features. It ought to be required reading for internet users. Digital influence is powerful and already shaping our world; Cambridge Analytica is just the most well-known iteration. Wylie weaves together technology, politics, psychology, history, and even fashion and colonialism, to present how this has developed. I found the casual but informed writing style of a twenty-something flamboyant party-boy to be a welcomed departure from the stuffy political memoirs typically written by ageing retirees. Wylie injects the story with his personality, bringing some levity to what could otherwise be a very dry operational account. The blend of story and facts kept me engaged.

However, Wylie's obvious bias creates grounds for distrust. Despite vehemently opposing these tools, I get the sense that if Cambridge Analytica had contracted with Clinton's campaign, rather than Trump's, Wylie would still be working for them. His black and white (read: blue and red) sense of right and wrong are far too simplistic. He misses the opportunity for a more nuanced discussion. Furthermore, I don't buy his naivety and tone of exoneration. It is far too convenient.

Despite all that, completely worth the read. Just make sure you're thinking about it. ( )
2 vote eljay12 | Dec 13, 2020 |
Whistleblower's account of how social media data has been harvested and abused by sinister political operators. Chapter 12 (Revelations) and the Epilogue are the most insightful parts of the book. These sections are where the author largely moves away from personal anecdotes to focus more on analysing the structural weaknesses that allow these problems to occur.
Key concepts here are:
[1] Social media & internet platforms can be thought of as architecture or critical infrastructure, rather than as services. They should then be subject to equivalent safety standards that we apply to physical architecture/infrastructure before we permit them to be used as spaces for people to live their lives within. Such safety standards are not currently present. It is equivalent to a developer building a house for people to live in, or an engineer designing an aircraft for people to fly in, without the need for any safety standards to be met before these things are deployed for use by the public on a mass scale.
[2] The current approach of consent-based usage is a fallacy. The author calls it "consent-washing". In reality, no users are going to read, understand and agree to the content embedded within twelve thousand words of legal language when they hit the "Accept" button.
[3] We should not think of social media as "free" platforms. In reality, users are paying heavily to use these platforms, via their data. User data should be thought of as valuable raw material which has an implied price. We should have a fair and competitive market place for transactions in that raw material. ie, users should be empowered to understand the value of their data and be informed enough to make a choice about whether it is a fair transaction for them to give it away in exchange for the benefits (and risks) that the platform returns to them.
2 vote CarlBook | Nov 20, 2020 |
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"Mindf*ck goes deep inside Cambridge Analytica's "American operations," which were driven by Steve Bannon's vision to remake America and fueled by mysterious billionaire Robert Mercer's money, as it weaponized and wielded the massive store of data it had harvested on individuals--in excess of 87 million--to disunite the United States and set Americans against each other. Bannon had long sensed that deep within America's soul lurked an explosive tension. Cambridge Analytica had the data to prove it, and in 2016 Bannon had a presidential campaign to use as his proving ground."--Amazon.

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