Heidi Tworek in Nieman Lab


Heidi Tworek in Nieman Lab

On May 15, 2017, Harvard University's Nieman Journalism Lab published a commentary by Transatlantic Academy Fellow Heidi Tworek, entitled "Cambridge Analytica, Trump, and the new old fear of manipulating the masses."

"Did 'sinister' emotional manipulation by the data analytics company, Cambridge Analytica, decide the U.S. election? History suggests otherwise," Tworek writes. "After the election, one company claimed the credit for engineering Trump’s victory: Cambridge Analytica. The company stated that it had analyzed Facebook along with other publicly available data for around 230 million Americans and combined this with individualized psychological profiling to provide personalized advertising and promote turnout to Trump’s rallies. Alarmist accounts see the company’s use of social media data, computer learning, and psychometric targeting as terrifying new inventions in electoral campaigns... There are many important questions... But one answer is clear: Fears of mass manipulation by new media are as old as mass media themselves. Almost every expansion of media or new media technology provoked paranoia about the contagious emotions of 'the masses.' The history of these recurrent claims should make us more skeptical of apocalyptic visions of how psychometric targeting will mislead the crowd."

The full article can be read here.

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