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Salty Droid

Facebook Analytica

The shifty internet marketing outfit Cambridge Analytica, attached to the shifty editor of internet propaganda site, attached to the shifty too-old-for-the-internet billionaire Robert Mercer; mined Facebook data and used it to target voters.

Also, if you need any Ukrainian prostitute type stuff… that’s a yes for Cambridge Analytica. They do it all - from spamming, to expounding on spamming, to pretending that they know a guy who knows a guy who does murders while spamming.

Sometimes, over the years, not so scrupulous marketers have asked Facebook users to take “surveys” or play “games” or do other “fun” stuff like that.

When your 8th grade English teacher, who you friended while attending an uncomfortable funeral, takes the shifty survey your profile data gets scraped. Then it gets traded around; sold, reconstituted, and resold. It’s the same story in both the legal and illegal markets for this data.

This type of massive scale data heist has been happening incessantly since the beginning of Facebook.

But the thing is, why bother?

Facebook is a nuclear grade weapon for targeting sadness and fear with deception and manipulation. As soon as you pull the data off of Facebook, suspend it in time, and squish it into some lesser configuration; it becomes orders of magnitude less valuable.

Sophisticated operators don’t mine and scrape Facebook; they go with the algorithmic flow, spending billions of dollars utilizing the greatest manipulation tool ever created - targeting sorrow with horrifying precision.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with targeting voters. Political advertising is how we play democracy in America. Getting messages to specific voters at a low cost could have been one of the good things about Facebook.

Targeted advertising could have been a fair enough trade-off. You use the technology for free in exchange for viewing ads that are targeted in crazy creepy ways.

The problem comes when the creepy targeting is used to distribute deception. Facebook allows fraudsters, tyrants, and trolls to find your fears and frustrations - poke at them - and then present you with self-destructive “solutions”.

Predatory ads are far more effective than ads bounded by the inconvenience of reality.

When you tell Facebook who you are and who you know, you help it scam everyone everywhere… just a little bit, but you help.

The scary thing isn’t that dubious shadow firms uselessly heist your data from Facebook, but that Facebook has your data in the first place.

I’m not going to tell you to delete your Facebook account (especially if you’re a scammer daily incriminating yourself). But I am going to tell you that I deleted mine in 2009. Somehow I still manage to know all the people that I know.