“The Great Hack” on Netflix: The Cambridge-Analytica Conspiracy


eIt sounds touching again when David Carroll says everything started with a dream. With the dream of a networked world from the end of all loneliness. Carroll is a professor of digital media in New York. The networked world of digital media first and foremost recognizes him as a hero opposed to Cambridge Analytica, the scandalous data analyst firm, who sues his data in British courts. Carroll wants them all back.

Three years ago, Cambridge Analytica had collected and deployed the data of 87 million Facebook users for the US election campaign for the “Alamo” Republican campaign. Only for presidential candidate Ted Cruz, then for the more promising candidate Donald Trump. The data was used in the so-called Swing States, the states with the most fickle voters. The “Convincing”, as Cambridge Analytica called it, was leaked through the usual channels, Facebook and WhatsApp, articles, videos, memes, and links to the detriment of Democrat polls. To criminal blacks, invading Mexicans, self-confident women, celebrating homosexuals and Hillary Clinton's sins. You know how it went.

“The Great Hack” – Netflix documentary about Cambridge Analytica

The illegal exploitation of millions of Facebook profiles by Cambridge Analytica triggered a scandal. The data thus obtained were instrumentalized for political purposes. Netflix highlights the data theft in a documentation.

“We bombarded them until they saw the world the way we wanted it,” says Christopher Wylie, who left the company long before the global revelations surrounding Cambridge Analytica and Facebook last year and went into the whistleblower business. He says it in the documentary “The Great Hack,” which can be seen on Netflix. Carole Cadwalladr has a say, the journalist had broken the web of Cambridge Analytica (hereinafter referred to as CA), social networks and right-wing campaigns in the “Observer”. Brittany Kaiser is the main character of the movie, she left CA when it all came to light. David Carroll, the professor, is the walking conscience: he laments the “system,” as he calls it, and gives everyone the paternal advice to be careful with data and read the terms and conditions.

Older people will remember that the dream of a better world was actually connected to the net. It was the fairytale of the global village, which was to become more and more beautiful, more open and more democratic. Nobody believes in that anymore. The net is just there for everyone, it's neither good nor bad. In the world capital of the Internet, in the Silicon Valley, further speeches are held as in socialism, while diligently accumulating capital: data. Everyone knows that.

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“The Great Hack”, the big hack in the movie title, points to a vile data theft in previously unimaginable dimensions. But it was not really a hack: another professor, Cambridge University Aleksandr Kogan, had tapped people's personal data and Facebook friends through tests that allowed Facebook users to rate their personality and knowledge gained a wealth of information about their views and interests. Punishing was not the collecting itself, punishable was the disclosure of the records, to CA and to the campaigners of “Alamo” for Donald Trump.

The film suggests the natural symbiosis of unscrupulous data analysts with the New Right. He illustrates the conspiracy theory of the digital world conspiracy, which lives mainly on conspiracy theories. It can be dizzy. But then there is also Brittany Kaiser, until 2018 at CA, as Chief witness in front of the Committee of Inquiry and in “The Great Hack”. She grew up as a left-wing activist in America, campaigned for human rights in politics, and campaigned for Barack Obama with CA data. Her family was impoverished by the economic crisis, Kaiser became director of CA. When Donald Trump secured her services, she turned into a right-wing conservative, joined the gun lobby, and went hunting.

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CA and Facebook are what they are. Capitalist systems that do not follow morality but markets. Facebook collects and applies data, using algorithms from gambling and models of propaganda. When Mark Zuckerberg was summoned to the Washington Congress to clarify the CA affair, he said, “We were not.” It was, according to Zuckerberg, CA alone, now hiding in their bankruptcy proceedings, as a “Behavior Influencing Agency.” “, Which used to be advertising agencies. “The Mad Men of yesteryear are the mathematicians of today,” was the slogan of their former head Alexander Nix. In the movie is Nothing in a shaky video to see how he admits to have also bought votes to help the algorithms. The political institutions are no longer equal to the sociology of networks. Facebook makes it impossible to hold free elections, the British Government's commission of inquiry determines, the penalty: half a million pounds. The US Department of Consumer Protection announces a $ 5 billion fine. We will see.

Just in time for the hotly-lit election campaign in America, “The Great Hack” talks about how Facebook data influenced elections in India, Italy, Ukraine, and Brazil, and how rags and leaks from Russia brought right-wing videos and memes into circulation. The campaign for the Brexit was the test run of a toxic technology, the page leave.eu for the CA axis of evil: Nigel Farage – Steve Bannon – Donald Trump. The request of the AfD, says Brittany Kaiser, however Cambridge Analytica had rejected. Why, she does not explain, she's in exile in Thailand, saying, “I no longer defend old white men who have anything in common with the common good.” Which in turn speaks for a more natural alliance between authoritarians and the anti-social media: who psychographically destroys the discourse, misses the world in its own way.

“The world has been deeply divided,” says human rights activist David Carroll. “How could a dream break us that way?” As “The Great Hack” shows, on Netflix, where they collect, evaluate and use our data to see what we want to see.

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