Mark Zuckerberg heads to the nation’s capital this week for some lashings from America’s legislators. On Tuesday, he’ll appear in front of joint sessions of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees. Then on Wednesday, the Facebook CEO will visit the House Energy and Commerce Committee for another round of bruising. Since the presidential election of 2016, congressmen have pummeled social media giants for Russia’s infiltration and exploitation of their systems. But America’s politicians may want to tread lightly as they seek answers from Zuckerberg. Political actors, more than anyone, seek the power and reach of social media to win the hearts and minds of voters. In the future, Russia and other authoritarians will continue their manipulation, but it will be ordinary candidates and their campaigns, lobbyists, and corporate backers that seek to exploit the manipulative advantages available on social media. A combative tech CEO just might flip the script and call out the politicians for their role in this mess.
In 2008, President Obama beat the establishment in part by harnessing social media. The Obama campaign successfully used online networks to create real world votes, and everyone ran to follow and duplicate their methods. Fast forward eight years into the social media era, and we’ve found out from whistleblower Christopher Wylie, and Channel 4’s undercover expose that Cambridge Analytica took e-campaigns to the logical next step. They aggregated more than 80 million Facebook users’ data to analyze and then deliver customized messages to the right voters at exactly the right time. Cambridge Analytica’s CEO Alexander Nix eerily bragged about mimicking the Kremlin’s playbook during a covertly filmed business meeting. Nix explained how his company, working through a series of cutouts and front companies, could create physical provocations in the real world, such as the employment of Ukrainian sex workers, to discredit political opponents in the virtual world.
Full Article: How Every Campaign Will Have a Troll Farm of Its Own.