back to article Cambridge Analytica CEO suspended – and that's not even the worst news for them today

For the fourth straight day, Cambridge Analytica is scrambling in the wake of damning media reports. The embattled London-based biz suspended its CEO Alexander Nix on Tuesday after the UK's Channel 4 aired yet another news report – this time showing Nix claiming to have run the "digital campaign" for US President Donald Trump' …

  1. Kaltern
    Thumb Up

    Shame.

    Couldn't happen to a nicer group of humans.

    1. FozzyBear Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: Shame.

      Classifying this group of gutter dwelling, bottom feeding, shallow end of the gene pool upright mammals as Human is somewhat alarming.

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: Shame.

        Classifying other people as non-human is a slippery slope towards fascism and the final solution.

        Think it through.

        1. John Lilburne Silver badge

          Re: Shame.

          Classifying other people as non-human is a slippery slope towards fascism and the final solution.

          Think it through.

          I did and it isn't the same. With regards to the holocaust that was perpetrated against people who could not help being Jewish, Slavic, Gypsy, Homosexual, or having a genetic illness.

          In the cases here we have a group of people that choose to be utter bellends, and lying bastards.

          1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

            Re: Shame.

            3 comments until we hit Godwin's law. Nice. Though Nazism != Fascism.

            1. matjaggard

              Re: Shame.

              Nix==Hitler

              Was that more than 3 comments in?

            2. M. Poolman

              Re: Shame.

              I've never really seen the point of Godwin's "law" - is it really suggesting that any mention of the 3rd Reich automatically renders an argument invalid? If not, why bring it up?

              1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

                Re: Shame.

                Godwin's law: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches 1"

                There is a popular extension that mentioning Hitler causes instant loss of a debate, which is sometimes abused. Godwin has expressed the need for an exemption when the debate is actually about real Nazis.

                1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

                  Re: Shame.

                  Godwin's law: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches 1"

                  We should add Putin, Skripal and Litvinenko to the list.

                  1. sabroni Silver badge

                    Re: Fuck Godwin's law.

                    "Classifying this group of gutter dwelling, bottom feeding, shallow end of the gene pool upright mammals as Human is somewhat alarming."

                    "Bolshevism is the declaration of war by Jewish-led international subhumans against culture itself". ref

                    So why is the comparison invalid? Because it's a cliche?

                  2. PNGuinn
                    Trollface

                    Re: Shame.

                    "We should add Putin, Skripal and Litvinenko to the list."

                    And some of the present UK government ... and ...

                  3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

                    Re: Shame.

                    Godwin's law: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches 1"

                    We should add Putin, Skripal and Litvinenko to the list.

                    From what I've seen, Trump needs to be in that list as well. Occasionally Hillary Clinton. Of course, I can be smug in the knowledge that I voted for my Johnson...

                2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                  Re: Shame.

                  There is a popular extension that mentioning Hitler causes instant loss of a debate, which is sometimes abused.

                  Cliff Stoll may have been the first to add that corollary. Mike Godwin endorsed it in his 1995 Net Culture post.

                  Part of Godwin's original point - as he described it in the Godwin's Law post he cross-posted to a number of popular Usenet newsgroups in 1991 - was to point out how readily Usenet posters would trot out the Hitler comparison. He felt that trivialized the associated historical events, and was rhetorically ineffective, because it had become a cliché.

                  Stoll's point, I assume, is that once Godwin's Law is satisfied, there's a good chance that the debate has degenerated to hyperbole, insult, and trivial generalization, at least on one side; and so nothing more productive would happen in it.

                  It's an observation, not a parliamentary rule. Note also Quirk's Exception.

          2. tfb Silver badge

            Re: Shame.

            It is similar enough. Would it be OK, for instance, to treat people who voted for or against Brexit (depending on your view on it) as subhuman? It's a completely standard trick to treat people you don't like as not human -- it's how people think about the other side in wars so they killing them seems OK.

            But they are human, as are these people, and if you remember that, you also remember that humans can do terrible things which means that you or I can do terrible things if we aren't careful to avoid doing so.

          3. tom dial Silver badge

            Re: Shame.

            It is far from evident that these people, snakelike as they may be, should be read out of the human race for embracing practices that, subject to constraints of contemporary technology, have been common practice in US political campaigning for over two hundred years and probably are as widely used nearly everywhere public elections are held.

            1. JohnFen Silver badge

              Re: Shame.

              That's a good point. I'll just stick with "evil scumbags who are an active threat to society at large."

          4. MonkeyCee Silver badge

            Re: Shame.

            "I did and it isn't the same. With regards to the holocaust that was perpetrated against people who could not help being Jewish, Slavic, Gypsy, Homosexual, or having a genetic illness."

            You could end up in the camps for being a communist, a Catholic or a member of a trade union. You could argue that a Jew or a Catholic could give up their religion.

            The holocaust was perpetuated against scapegoats and those who might oppose the fascists. Not just those who fell foul of the rules. Otherwise Hitler would have ended up in a camp on account of having too much Jew ancestry.

            Bear in mind a lot of what we have today, in terms of government and private company co-operation is quite literally fascism. To big to fail, PFI and the industrial military complex are manifestations of it.

            Any point where you go from attacking a persons ideas/values/morals/actions to declaring them to be sub-human is the slippery slope. Because once it's OK to dehumanize a person, you can find a way to do it to the next one, and so on. Once they don't have their rights, then you can do what you like to them.

            It's the same puerile (and unhelpful) attitude that supports/glorifies/jokes about rape in prison as being part of the process.

            People do shitty things, but they don't stop being people.

        2. FozzyBear Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Shame.

          @ Sabroni

          I did think it through. Hence the obvious restraint in my comments

          1. sabroni Silver badge
            Meh

            Re: Shame.

            @ FozzyBear

            I don't see restraint, I see Katie Hopkin's cockroach comment repackaged and pointed at a different group of people. These are all people, however scummy their behaviour may be. Classifying them as sub human is not funny or clever. Think harder.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That Hideous Strength

      ^^^ I finally twigged earlier today what the whole thing uncannily reminds me of.

      1. M. Poolman
        Thumb Up

        Re: That Hideous Strength

        Good call.

        For those that don't recognise the reference it's one of a trilogy by C.S.Lewis. Highly reccomended.

      2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: That Hideous Strength

        "I finally twigged earlier today what the whole thing uncannily reminds me of."

        I doubt the Stasi read C S Lewis.

        The Stasi was the combination of Soviet paranoia and German recording efficiency. Anything with Stave Bannon involved might be suspected by unkind people of having similar leanings.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: That Hideous Strength

          I doubt the Stasi read C S Lewis.

          The STASI read everything - I've been to the former headquarters in East Berlin (now a museum, and incidentally, the actual filming location for the rather good Deutschland 83), and seen the row of steamers they used for covertly opening pretty much everyone's mail. The STASI directly employed over 90,000 people, and had one informer for every 6.5 citizens...

          So, not only did the STASI almost certainly read C S Lewis's books in an official capacity, if he ever corresponded with anyone on the other side of the Iron Curtain before his death in 1963, they will have read his letters too.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: That Hideous Strength

          Anything with [Steve] Bannon involved might be suspected by unkind people of having similar leanings.

          You give Bannon too much credit. He's a lower-tier lackey and public face for the people who prefer to operate out of direct sight, like the Mercers. Before he took over Breitbart NN (which only happened because of Andrew Breitbart's unexpected death in 2012), Bannon was just a marginally-successful investment banker and Hollywood producer. He was best known for his claims to have helped negotiate the syndication deal for Seinfeld, but no one actually involved in that deal seems to recall his participation.

          Now, anything the Mercers are involved in - watch out.

  2. Oh Homer Silver badge
    Pint

    OK, that's it!

    I'm just going to have to buy a popcorn machine.

    1. Winkypop Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: OK, that's it!

      I'll buy a JCB to pour in the corn!

      1. defiler Silver badge

        Re: OK, that's it!

        Nah - it won't last that long. You can hire JCBs by the day.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: OK, that's it!

          Nah - it won't last that long. You can hire JCBs by the day.

          Well, there will be more occasions where a popcorn-loading JCB will come in handy, because CamAnal has had their fingers in several other processes where influencing voter behaviour was kind of relevant (*cough* brexit *cough*)

          1. VinceH Silver badge

            Re: OK, that's it!

            Hello Dragons, my pitch is for a smart popcorn machine. It will analyse news headlines before the user gets around to reading them and, based on the user's profile* will automatically start preparing the popcorn, ready for when the user will be reading the news for which they will most likely want popcorn...

            * Which we really, really won't get from Facebook. Honest. And the users' data will all be perfectly safe with us, oh yes.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: OK, that's it!

              VinceH,

              If you can do them in 'Red' and 'Blue' there is £100,000 of my money on the table now !!!

              :) ;)

              P.S.

              Don't worry about the Data issues,I have been told by someone called Nicks or Nix (???) that they will 'fix' it for you, no questions asked.

              Btw, does anyone know where I can 'quickly' get a 'Horses head', I am asking for a friend of a friend. :)

              P.P.S.

              For clarity it does need to be a 'Horses Head' which is a pity as there is no shortage of 'Horses A**es'.

              One called 'Boris' will be free soon, so someone called 'Putin' told a mutual acquaintance. !!! :)

          2. ToddRundgrensUtopia

            Re: OK, that's it!

            So who are you suggesting from the Brexit side employed Mt Nix and Co?

            1. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

              Re: OK, that's it!

              That's easy: the man who funded both the CA startup and the Brexit campaign.

            2. desht

              Re: OK, that's it!

              Well, we could start with Farage's good friend Robert Mercer, I suppose. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/feb/26/us-billionaire-mercer-helped-back-brexit

              And we know that CA did some work with Leave.EU, so there's Arron Banks potentially implicated too.

              It's hilarious when Brexiteers bleat about "democracy" when it's becoming clearer by the way what a nasty perversion of the democratic process that the referendum was.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: OK, that's it!

                It's hilarious when Brexiteers bleat about "democracy" when it's becoming clearer by the way what a nasty perversion of the democratic process that the referendum was.

                Clearly, the Remain campaign was entirely above board, what with the full weight of our trustworthy Establishment, extensive funding by rich foreign nationals like George Soros, along with the brilliantly and honestly conceived "Project Fear".

                But apparently we Brexiteers are mere racist simpletons, who have been swayed by a barrage of targeted advertising driven off our Facebook profiles (not that I have any FB profile, but never mind facts, eh?).

                1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                  Re: OK, that's it!

                  extensive funding by rich foreign nationals like George Soros

                  FYI, funding of campaigning before the election by foreign nationals, including George Soros, was strictly forbidden. The fact that he gave some money to a pro-EU group this year can hardly have had an effect on the democratic credentials of the referendum, unless a significant number of voters are in possession of time machines.

                2. desht

                  Re: OK, that's it!

                  Got some evidence of malfeasance by the "trustworthy Establishment"? Or evidence that Soros meddled in anything before the referendum? I mean, I'm no fan of Cameron or Osborne, but what did they, or anyone else, do that wasn't above board in terms Remain campaigning?

                  By the way, I didn't use the word "racist", but you did. Nor did I say you had a FB profile, so I'm not sure what "facts" you think you're referring to.

                  1. David 18

                    Re: OK, that's it!

                    @desht

                    "By the way, I didn't use the word "racist", but you did. Nor did I say you had a FB profile, so I'm not sure what "facts" you think you're referring to."

                    He did provide ample evidence of being a simpleton however.

                3. Carpet Deal 'em
                  Trollface

                  Re: OK, that's it!

                  > Clearly, the Remain campaign was entirely above board, what with the full weight of our trustworthy Establishment, extensive funding by rich foreign nationals like George Soros, along with the brilliantly and honestly conceived "Project Fear".

                  > But apparently we Brexiteers are mere racist simpletons, who have been swayed by a barrage of targeted advertising driven off our Facebook profiles (not that I have any FB profile, but never mind facts, eh?).

                  Beep boop. Russian bot detected.

  3. SMITCH79

    This could be the start of something beautiful

    But experience tells me probably not. Cue bungled investigation, backroom deals and limited useless regulation. Thats the recipe these days ain't it?

    Cynical me? Of course.

    But to be fair I did have an alternate universe moment when watching BBC news. They had a rep from the ICO who was talking solemnly and gravely about "having real concerns about facebook for some time"

    Who knows then. Right?

    1. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: This could be the start of something beautiful

      Now where are those rogue engineers?

      That's better, nothing to see now.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Gimp

      $185.09 to $169.15, (about a 9% fall)

      Zuckerberg: Do I look bothered? Is this my bothered face? Really?

      And rightly so.

      He knows people have very short attention spans and are dumb enough to reveal damm near their whole lives to complete strangers on FB in ways that (had they been asked those questions IRL) would have them thinking "WTF, this guy is beyond creepy."

      Facebook is an ecosystem. And in an ecosystem there are predators, prey and parasites.

      I'll leave others to work out which is which.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: $185.09 to $169.15, (about a 9% fall)

        "He knows people have very short attention spans"

        Legislators with a campaign to keep them in the public eye work on have rather longer attention spans.

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          Legislators with a campaign to work on have rather longer attention spans.

          We can hope so.

          I still think shorting the stock is a better bet.

          At least a couple of dollars more.

      2. a pressbutton

        $185.09 to $169.15, (about a 9% fall

        Zuckerberg knows people have short attention spans because that is what the full Facebook dataset tells him

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: This could be the start of something beautiful

      The BBC reporter saying Facebook had changed from a platform to sell products to a way to sell elections (or something similar) was a sight to behold though.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This could be the start of something beautiful

      I think you mean alternative universe.

    5. ah umaway

      Re: This could be the start of something beautiful

      It is in itself beautiful. Still I share your cynicism. CA and Facebook are now the villains in the stocks. The larger problem of psychographic targeting (or whatever they decided to call this) is our sheepish complacency and acceptance.

      To have read this comment, you have to agree to our increasingly unacceptable EULA and our Privacy Statement.

      [I AGREE TO ALL OF IT] [ISOLATE ME SOCIALLY]

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tried explaining to my SO what was going on this week

    Its like talking to a cult member without deprogramming. This story isn't trending in Facebook News Feeds! Investors & Advertisers aren't changing their behavior, just riding out the storm as usual. Until all 3 repel Facebook, Sociopath Zuk and his connecting-the-world monkeys appear unstoppable!

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Tried explaining to my SO what was going on this week

      "This story isn't trending in Facebook News Feeds! "

      That would be because the news feed is no longer algorithm based, and they have a team selecting which news articles to display in order to prevent "fake news" from being published.

      So, maybe, they see the CA bullshit as fake nooze?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tried explaining to my SO what was going on this week

        This story is so much bigger than CA. Presumably you won't see that on FB either? Is FB even blocking users from sharing links to these stories? (I wouldn't know, I'm a developer not a user)

        The FB-CA-Trump conspiracy theory is bullshit, but it's useful: as a salacious headline for C4 and Guardian; as a call to arms for Democrat voters who didn't care when Obama did it (Carol Davidsen: "we were able to suck out the whole social graph"); and conversely, to ensure that Trump voters stay mad at FB & Co.

        It doesn't matter. Even the MSM is focusing in on what's been an open secret for years: FB shares too much personal information with every developer, marketing slimelord, scammer, and stalker who wants it. Android, iOS, and other platforms are almost as bad.

        1. cosmogoblin
          Big Brother

          Re: Tried explaining to my SO what was going on this week

          The thing that really worries me about FB is that deleting your account makes no difference. You don't need to have signed up for others to tag you, building up a profile of a person who has never been a user, but even that doesn't really matter. The truly terrifying thing is that FB have unprecedented analysis of all human behaviour. With just a few data points - which don't even need to be from FB - they and their partners can analyse your behaviour, compare it to their database of a third of humans, and predict and influence your opinions and actions. If you use a computer, FB own you.

          See this news article from 3 years ago

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Tried explaining to my SO what was going on this week

            If we're very, very lucky then this is the beginning of the end of Facebook.

          2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

            Re: Tried explaining to my SO what was going on this week

            The thing that really worries me about FB is that deleting your account makes no difference. You don't need to have signed up for others to tag you, building up a profile of a person who has never been a user, but even that doesn't really matter. The truly terrifying thing is that FB have unprecedented analysis of all human behaviour. With just a few data points - which don't even need to be from FB - they and their partners can analyse your behaviour, compare it to their database of a third of humans, and predict and influence your opinions and actions. If you use a computer, FB own you.

            I call bullshit. Firstly on the "they can tag you if you havent signed up"

            And mostly "FB own you" They cant analyse my behavior in particular , and they sure as hell cant influence me which way to vote by putting adverts on the side of my screen . I am a free man , not a sheep. ( or a number)

            1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

              Re: Tried explaining to my SO what was going on this week

              I call bullshit. Firstly on the "they can tag you if you havent signed up"

              Then think again.

              Are you 100% certain that none of your "friends" has given them any information about you ? Absolutely none of them ? How about your work colleagues ? How about every person you've ever given contact details to - often a lot through work, especially if you have a customer facing role ?

              And are you sure that you've never visited a web page with their tracking code in it ? And can you be certain that no site you've visited and which needs a login has passed/leaked any information to them ?

              Just remember that Farcebork "encourage" (as in nag them and nag them) to upload their contacts and/or to give them the login to their email so it can be scanned for contacts. It's illegal to do it, but that doesn't stop Farcebork encouraging users to do it - or the idiots actually doing it.

              I know I can't guarantee all those - so it's a dead cert that they have a profile on me, and from I've seen in the saga of the Max Schrems case, quite detailed.

              Don't forget - Farcebork are used to US laws which are, being polite, very lax on user privacy. They've built their business on doing this. And they are very good at it.

            2. MonkeyCee Silver badge

              Re: Tried explaining to my SO what was going on this week

              "I call bullshit. Firstly on the "they can tag you if you havent signed up""

              It's a shadow profile. You can see them in the social graph. You have looked at the social graph right? So if you can see your friends/family nodes, there will be a node with your details on it.

              It's far from perfect, depending how dispersed your mates are you can end up with several profiles.

              One of my classmates specifically avoided FB, and we went and found his three shadow profiles, which where reasonably accurate unto themselves.

              " they sure as hell cant influence me which way to vote by putting adverts on the side of my screen"

              Yeah, but they can do that to people who do influence you.

              Plus like all clever people "advertising doesn't work on you" right? :)

        2. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Tried explaining to my SO what was going on this week

          "FB shares too much personal information with every developer, marketing slimelord, scammer, and stalker who wants it. "

          This is the important point. The political aspect is merely a sideshow.

          1. Tree
            Holmes

            Never used Facebutt, because FB shares too much personal information with every developer, marketing slimelord, scammer, and stalker. Somehow, though, the Obamafiles thought I was "gay", then was LGB, and later LGBTQ. I used to get mail inviting me to events or protests or asking me to hate Christians and Chik-Fil-A.

            Somebody profiled me, but I never buggered anyone. After a while it stopped. Oh, privacy is so important!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Tried explaining to my SO what was going on this week

            > > "FB shares too much personal information with every developer, marketing slimelord, scammer, and stalker who wants it. "

            > This is the important point. The political aspect is merely a sideshow.

            Thanks, but don't put all your faith in alt-tech solutions. Politics matters. Drain the swamp of enablers, including pet watchdogs like EFF/EPIC; they're too close to FB et al. Support those who put FREEDOM first.

            > I call bullshit. Firstly on the "they can tag you if you havent signed up"

            Agreed. It's far worse if you actively use it to offer up your contacts and likes on a silver platter. If you don't, an effective ad+tracking blocker should protect you. Maybe a proxy in addition for IP privacy. It is even possible to use FB strictly for business (separate browser, profile, or device) without leaking a great deal of personal info.

    2. SImon Hobson Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Tried explaining to my SO what was going on this week

      And my other half just said "as long as we don't lose facebook". As said before, the vast majority of users can't see what the problem is even when it's explained to them.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        so what

        Would it help if FB were forced to make their data public so we could all look at it?

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: so what

          Not really

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Help

    Dear El Reg,

    I'm writing a paper on scams, scammers, and general scum. I wonder if you might have a picture of a really shifty looking chap that I might be allowed to crib?

    Cheers.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Help

      You mean there isn't a Creative Commons licensed photo of Jacob Reese-Moog?

      1. ToddRundgrensUtopia

        Re: Help

        I can confirm, (and I didn't want to believe it), that Jacob is an unbelievably nice bloke

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Help

          "Jacob is an unbelievably nice bloke"

          You mean you don't believe it?

        2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: Help

          "I can confirm, (and I didn't want to believe it), that Jacob is an unbelievably nice bloke"

          I am absolutely sure that Rees-Mogg is not a psychopath, but you really ought to look up the cluster of psychopathic tendencies. One of them is the ability to charm and influence people in pursuit of what they want. Another is to turn extremely nasty if anybody fails to respond to their charm. Therefore, if you meet someone who is extremely pleasant and charming, it is wise to watch your back on principle. Most of us don't make the effort.

        3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: Help

          I can confirm, (and I didn't want to believe it), that Jacob is an unbelievably nice bloke

          His commons voting record draws a different picture.

          For future reference:

          Personable != nice

        4. wolfetone Silver badge

          Re: Help

          "I can confirm, (and I didn't want to believe it), that Jacob is an unbelievably nice bloke"

          Yeah, Christians who don't believe in abortion and see it as a morally wrong thing to do but don't mind making money from the companies who produce the items used in such tasks tend to be jolly fellows.

        5. MonkeyCee Silver badge

          Re: Help

          "I can confirm, (and I didn't want to believe it), that Jacob is an unbelievably nice bloke"

          I've had the assorted pleasures of spending time with a number of elected representatives while in NZ.

          Apart from one (who was a real asshat) every politician I've dealt with has been charming, polite, generous and personable. Often more so when our political views diverged.

          My experiences with the wealthy* is that they are, generally, also very nice. Especially to anyone who isn't in the same financial class. So clients where generally very polite to me (phone monkey), but quite short with their personal banker.

          Since Jacob is both a politician and a rich fucker, if he wasn't a nice bloke in his personal life then he has really fucked up.

          *apart from friends and family, I did phone support for "private banking". So phone banking but for people with a million plus in assets.

    2. handleoclast Silver badge

      Re: Help

      I wonder if you might have a picture of a really shifty looking chap that I might be allowed to crib?

      Try Donald Trump, or any members of his maladministration or immediate family. My choice would be Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, his wife and the banknotes but any of the maladministration would serve equally well for your purposes. Donald Junior and Eric look like Hale & Pace in their The Management sketches, so perhaps you'd prefer them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Help

        If all else fails and you hail from this side of the wet bit, there are plenty of pictures of Tony Blair and Pierce Morgan around..

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Help

        "Try Donald Trump, or any members of his maladministration or immediate family."

        Has he ever had a full team yet? IIRC, there are many posts still yo be filled since he took office, not to mention the high speed petrol powered revolving door he's fitted to the Whitehouse front door that seems to get a lot of use.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All is not how it seems !!!

    Mr Nix has been suspended from Cambridge Analytica BUT it is a shell company with no Employees or assets !!!

    Lo and behold he is now part of:

    Emerdata Ltd created by SCL/Cambridge Analytica's Julian Wheatland, with Erik Prince's business partner Chun Shun Ko appointed director Jan '17 - just added Rebekah Mercer & Jennifer Mercer as directors, along w/Alexander Nix HT @SoftWarmKitties https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/10911848/officers

    [From Twitter: https://twitter.com/WendySiegelman]

    Sorry NOT on Twitter [or any Social Media :) ] so don't know how to get/post links etc

    As quoted elsewhere in these comments read https://twitter.com/carolecadwalla

    First time I have ever read Twitter and followed [NOT Twitter 'follow' :) ] links etc.

    This story is getting Bigger and Bigger and pulling in links to so many things.

    At last the real 'Danger' of Social Media (and thrown away 'Privacy') will be seen and cannot be ignored or casually brushed under the carpet any more.

    There is an awful lot of 'I told you so !!!' going on now. :) :)

    Popcorn is 'ready to go' as this is going to 'explode' for weeks yet.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: All is not how it seems !!!

      Clearly Trump dropped his huge distraction bomb to early. Is it time for a nuke or will he go all out and play a violent video game?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: All is not how it seems !!!

      Emerdata Ltd created by SCL/Cambridge Analytica's Julian Wheatland, with Erik Prince's business partner Chun Shun Ko

      And FYI, Eric Prince is the founder of the thugs-for-hire group BlackwaterXe, and the brother of Trump's Education Doofus Betsy DeVos.

      Nice bunch of people right there.

      1. Robert 22

        Re: All is not how it seems !!!

        This is the tip of the iceberg - everything indicates that this isn't just about a few bad apples. There were obviously many others who, unencumbered by ethical standards or any sense of decency, were prepared to do anything to achieve their goals.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All is not how it seems !!!

      well, that's the beauty of "networking", everything' and everybody (who is somebody) is connected. The more buggers you pull out to light, the more comes out. Until the politicians struggling not to be dragged out and examined (sorry) make the story disappear. One way take take control would be to begin an official (police) investigation, thus blocking those pesky journos from digging up too much unwelcome revelations. Another way would be to divert "public" attention towards safer, but equally exciting revelations (aka burying bad news) and they quickly lose interest in yesterday's popcorn.

      But of course, all this is fantasy and IF it happens, it only happens in Russia (here,I just earned my daily rate of 3.4 rubles)

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: All is not how it seems !!!

        "One way take take control would be to begin an official (police) investigation, thus blocking those pesky journos from digging up too much unwelcome revelations"

        It would only block them if charges were made so it became sub judice.

  7. tommy_qwerty

    What I don't understand

    is that in the previous two elections, the winning candidate's use of social media in quite a similar way was praised as "savvy" and "forward-thinking", and now all the sudden it's a crime. Is it because one is a photogenic lapdog of the multinationals and the other is an orange oaf intent on throwing a wrench in the works?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: What I don't understand

      If you look at the history of American politics, this is not new... only bigger and more divisive than anything that's been done before due to technolog and data mining. It hasn't and isn't limited to only one party as both have had their scandals, etc. over the decades. But given where we are, those high up and also in the media will each blame the other side even though they're all guilty of something this time around.

      It will probably only get worse until the people actually rise up and say "enough".... However, that may not happen, the window might be closed. The media (just as divisive as the politicians themselves) share the blame. The search for "site hits" means more screaming, more finger pointing, more scandal. They feed on this stuff just as much as they did in the past. Sadly, the voters get sucked up into the frenzy which encourages everyone in power to continue and raise the ante.

      This probably isn't the last scandal we'll see this year or for the next decade..... maybe longer. But the Internet has empowered those who crave power to manipulate the voters like they've never been manipulated before.

      I hope that things change for the better. That those who seek power and money from the corporate and the political side come their senses before things really go to hell.

    2. Nifty

      Re: What I don't understand

      You forgot to mention Corbyn at the UK 2017 snap election where an activist subgroup finessed social media beautifully.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Corbyn in 2017

        They had 'Momentum'.... /sic

        IMHO, Momentum is in reality a party within a party which is against the Labor Party Constitution but no one at Party HQ is listening as they have already been taken over by Momentum.

        Comrade, papers please!

        1. jaduncan

          Re: Corbyn in 2017

          You should probably

          a) bother to spell Labour right;

          b) note the continued 101-year existence of the Co-operative Party within the Labour party;

          c) in no way present yourself as having knowledge of UK politics.

    3. Tom Wood

      Re: What I don't understand

      Obama's (and yes, Corbyn's) campaigns mainly used social media in an open, person-to-person way, sharing links and personal opinions amongst their friends etc with the source clearly attributed.

      What the Brexit and Trump campaigns did via Cambridge Analytica was paid, targeted advertising/propaganda which was not attributed to the party/group paying for it, and furthermore was targeted in an opaque way based on stolen data (they used the data of people's friends against Facebook's published terms of use and without their knowledge).

      There is clear blue water between the two ways of using social media to campaign.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: What I don't understand

        (they used the data of people's friends against Facebook's published terms of use and witout their knowledge).

        TFTFY

      2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Murky water

        There is clear blue water between the two ways of using social media to campaign.

        Not really. See-

        http://swampland.time.com/2012/11/20/friended-how-the-obama-campaign-connected-with-young-voters/

        More than 600,000 supporters followed through with more than 5 million contacts, asking their friends to register to vote, give money, vote or look at a video designed to change their mind. A geek squad in Chicago created models from vast data sets to find the best approaches for each potential voter. “We are not just sending you a banner ad,” explains Dan Wagner, the Obama campaign’s 29-year-old head of analytics, who helped oversee the project. “We are giving you relevant information from your friends.”

        And in the leaked Podesta emails, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO said how she really wanted Clinton to win, and offered her help. Both campaigns used the black arts of anti-social media, one won. Neither seemed very concerned about user privacy, but then that's the value for the anti-social media companies. And about the only good news is this has shed some light on that particular swamp.

        1. Naich

          Re: Murky water

          The Obama campaign used supporters who contacted their friends. How is this in any way similar to what CA are doing? Hardly "black arts" is it?

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Murky water

            Nope. The Obama App did the same and slurped 'friends' data as well. Main difference is that happened pre-2014 when Facepalm changed their T&Cs to 'stop' app developers doing their own networking. Or networking without paying Facepalm for the data. And of course once the slurp's occurred, Facepalm has virtually no control over that data.

            So CA isn't alone in doing the social network thing, and neither is it the only practioner of the dark arts. See the Steele dodgy dossier for more info. The light's been shone onto CA, but they're far from unique in performing dirty tricks for their clients. What it'll hopefully mean is ethics during political campaigning is something that more than just the MP for Brentwood should be concerned about.

            (It's a tad embarrassing that a British firm may have influenced the Trump more than the Russians. But at least CA charged/spent more.)

        2. ToddRundgrensUtopia

          Re: Murky water

          Proof that young people are thick whilst at University then grow up and vote Tory

          1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

            Re: Murky water

            "Proof that young people are thick whilst at University then grow up and vote Tory"

            I was not aware that Jacob Rees-Mogg, Christopher Monckton or Boris Johnson, to mention just three, were closet Trots at university.

          2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: Murky water

            Proof that young people are thick whilst at University then grow up and vote Tory

            There's actually published research out there that links low intelligence to right-wing ideology; so basically, science indicates that as people get older and develop dementia, that's when they vote Tory.

            Also, linking 'young' to 'thick' is equating inexperience with stupidity, which would imply that people get more intelligent as they get older. IQ actually peaks at some point in your mid 20s. By your logic, I should have switched to voting Tory many years ago, and Jeremy Corbyn definitely should have.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: Murky water

              There's actually published research out there that links low intelligence to right-wing ideology; so basically, science indicates that as people get older and develop dementia, that's when they vote Tory.

              Indeed. I've participated in several Facebook surveys on that very subject! And also a couple on confirmation bias.

              But I digress. Hilary/Brexit lost because of

              a) Russians

              b) old people

              c) stupid people

              d) Russia

              Click now to participate in this study! But seriously, I think we need some more analytics to understand the impact of social media on.. Pretty much anything other than advertising, and creating the illusion of hope. A few large advertisers seem to have woken up to realising the value is small, and cutting their online budgets. But they're probably old people, so just don't get it..

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Murky water

              > There's actually published research out there that links low intelligence to right-wing ideology

              There's also published research claiming - with ample justification - that over 60% of published research is fraudulent.

              Here's another bleedingly obvious statistic. Leftists are vastly overrepresented in this forum.

      3. SundogUK

        Re: What I don't understand

        "they used the data of people's friends against Facebook's published terms of use and without their knowledge"

        This is exactly what Obama's campaign did, and FB provided the data willingly (and enthusiastically).

      4. ToddRundgrensUtopia

        Re: What I don't understand

        "targeted propaganda" Tom? Don't fall into the trap it's different

  8. Winkypop Silver badge
    Devil

    As a non Facebook user*, let me just say...

    Bwahahahaaaahhaaaaaaaaa

    * and have never been one

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: As a non Facebook user*, let me just say...

      I've never had a facebook account either, but I assume they still know all sorts of things about me, because I have friends who do use facebook.

      All you need is one friend who's willing to click the "yes please, by all means have access to everything on my phone" button, and now facebook know everything that your friend knows about you.

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: As a non Facebook user*, let me just say...

        Well yeah but at least you're free of the side-effects of actually using FB...

      2. ah umaway

        Re: As a non Facebook user*, let me just say...

        Your gym sells your data to Facebook, even though you never go there.

        So does your supermarket.

        So do most Apps in both the play store and iTunes.

        So do several other websites, memberships.

        Here in the Netherlands all National newspapers do so too.

      3. rmason Silver badge

        Re: As a non Facebook user*, let me just say...

        @phuzz

        That.

        It's tricky to avoid too. I'm a twitter user and each time it updates on my phone I have to again say "no" to the "hey, did you know we can help you find more of your friends on twitter??"

        What that means is (just like FB) they have permission to hoover through all of the linked up contact stuff on your phone.

        The last thing I want is to follow our companies CTO on twitter, or for him to see me for example. But as we both have each others numbers saved we are one click (from either of us) away from being suggested to each other after the data harvest.

    2. Winkypop Silver badge

      Re: As a non Facebook user*, let me just say...

      Sorted!

      No friends you see!

  9. J.Smith

    I think Hillary's team will be kicking themselves that they missed a trick.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Hillary's team had excellent third generation get-out-the-vote software inherited from Obama and improved during 2012-2016. Such software is worth about 5% of the vote so it is only deployed in marginal states. Basically, volunteers get a list of people to call and remind that it is election day. The Republicans attempted something similar in 2012 but the software was utter crap. The polling for the 2016 election was off by about 6%, so in the last days of the election Hillary deployed her resources in the wrong states.

      Mercer's software came as a surprise to everyone. It included an effective GOTV component, plus adverts individually targeted to persuadable people in marginal states so they would vote Trump (to drain the swamp, keep the Mexicans out, because Hillary is the devil or be so corrupt that the federal government would destroy itself) or stay at home because Bernie wasn't nominated.

      I think is says something about a company when Julian Assange's ethics prevented a deal.

      [For those of you thinking targeted ads are useless, Mercer and Google have very different goals. Mercer wants to quietly persuade just enough people swing an election. Google ads are to drain the advertising budget of their clients.]

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Basically, volunteers get a list of people to call"

        Either things work differently in the US or the best use of this would be to pretend to be the other side and call their supporters. From my PoV it would be "I was thinking of voting for you but as you've called a TPS-registered number I won't".

        1. Zippy's Sausage Factory
          Devil

          Didn't the Tories do something similar in Glasgow* in the 70s?

          Only in their case, they took an election car with a loudhailer, covered it with Labour stickers, turned up the PA to 11 and drove round the housing estates at 3am shouting "vote Labour".

          Memory escapes me whether that worked...

          * I only think Glasgow because I was told this by an English teacher who comes from Glasgow.

        2. Carpet Deal 'em

          > Either things work differently in the US or the best use of this would be to pretend to be the other side and call their supporters.

          Good call monitoring would avoid this for the most part. But it seems Hillary was extra stupid and just handed out the list to people to call from the comfort of their own home, because I seem to remember /pol/ doing just this.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        [For those of you thinking targeted ads are useless, Mercer and Google have very different goals. Mercer wants to quietly persuade just enough people swing an election. Google ads are to drain the advertising budget of their clients.]

        If I were them (meaning all the usual suspects) I would take ALL the advertising money AND use my platform monopoly to manipulate voters in favor of 'tech-friendly' candidates.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course it is...

    The board is shocked, shocked! to discover there's election rigging going on in here!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Of course it is...

      Here are your winnings, sir.

  11. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
    Trollface

    And, in other news, the first flight to Mars has been booked solid in advance.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why is data on Facebook wide open?

    I can name a fair few scraping tools which will reveal addresses, email addresses and phone numbers. This is why I am not on Facef*ck and will never be, unless I'm collecting data to sell off.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Why is data on Facebook wide open?

      IoT level security laziness. You are supposed to buy data from directly Facebook, not scrape it for academic purposes and sell it to Cambridge Analytica.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Why is data on Facebook wide open?

        He says he's a third party being used as a scapegoat.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Why is data on Facebook wide open?

      "This is why I am not on Facef*ck "

      That doesn't matter, the scrapers have you anyway.

  13. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Devil

    Unfortunately...

    A hydra has more than one head.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Unfortunately...

      It sounds as though you are thinking what I'm thinking, if Farcebook goes to the wall, there is no way all that data will be flushed down the toilet, someone else will take up where FB left off. Probably a front company like Air America was.

  14. Denarius Silver badge

    not that new either

    back in the day, newspaper owners/editors published stories that suited their owners/clients/pet lapdogs. Just electronic and more personal now. Given the average punters preferences for a false dichotomy (two party preferred system to you) I do not see any reason to think much will change until truth in advertising applies to everything and all political advertising is limited to half a page of tabloid maximum. A two week election blackout except for polling stations locations may help also so punters have some silence at crucial time to remember what the various lots have been up to during their whole term.

    1. 2Nick3 Bronze badge

      Re: not that new either

      Spot on - USA Today was distributing different editions of the paper in different parts of the country during the election cycle.

      Basically the process that has been used to good effect in the past has been automated, allowing more customization across a larger target population. Discussed in the abstract it's really a logical progression. It's the specifics where things get quite murky.

  15. kmac499

    Let's all blame the developer

    LIstening to the steam radio this morning (Wed 21st) Camridge Analytica and Facebook seem to be blaming Dr Kogan the academic who wrote the harvesting app. (what's the betting the actual coder was an undergrad called Colin?)

    Just proving the eternal truth that when shit hits the IT Fan the managers blame the developers.

    BTW:- For several years we ( me and the SO) have taken part in a longitudinal social survey organised by a UK university. Once a year a reseacher pops round with a laptop and questionnaire. We are interviewed seperately and for the more personal questions we are handed the laptop or we can refuse the questions altogether. As a thankyou we recieve a £10 shopping voucher.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Let's all blame the developer

      "For several years we ( me and the SO) have taken part in a longitudinal social survey organised by a UK university. Once a year a reseacher pops round with a laptop and questionnaire."

      Does a Heisenberg principle apply to this sort of thing? Does being surveyed regularly influence the way you form views? And how would a researcher test that?

    2. Bill M

      Re: Let's all blame the developer

      I suspected Colin was behind all this, he's a right evil piece of work. But Colin is just a pseudonym that Beezelbub uses.

  16. Forget It
    Joke

    World got shafted big time:

    Base Fook

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facebook shocked?

    I think this post puts it into perspective about what is known and what is not known by facebook.

    link

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You are not allowed to steal Facebook data for advertising

    Only Facebook are allowed to exploit that data for profit.

  19. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Coat

    So what has SCL (CA's parent) "learned" from this sorry tale?

    "Vet potential clients much more thoroughly." *

    *CA's sales pitch is basically "We win your election for you"

    No qualifications about your suitability.

    No qualifications about wheather the other candidate(s) is/are better than you.

    No qualifications about how we will do it.

    This is basically the SOP for any marketing/advertising but this in an election contest and they are being much more covert about it. The appearance (on social media) of being "just normal folk like you" which is fact total bu***hit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So what has SCL (CA's parent) "learned" from this sorry tale?

      In fairness, marketing firms do turn away some sketchy clients when they're at all successful, and CA claims to be the best (which, to be fair, they all claim :)

      Nobody wants to work for dishonest losers with dubious finances when they can work for relatively honest clients with loads of money.

  20. sabroni Silver badge

    The entire company is outraged we were deceived.

    So you're either complete fucking idiots or lying shysters. Which is it?

    1. LucreLout Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: The entire company is outraged we were deceived.

      So you're either complete fucking idiots or lying shysters. Which is it?

      Why can't it be both?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In the land of the great unwashed we are sheep being herded by shepherds from all sides.

    I'm going to dig a hole and grow juniper bushes to get away from it all.

    1. Marcus000

      AC: I got a spade. Can I join you?

      Didn't there used to be a phrase,"Don't believe everything you read in the newspapers"? No wonder there was/is such a battle for the internet.

  22. Tromos

    Insider Trading?

    Is anyone looking into Zuckerberg's sale of shares prior to the price drop he knew was coming? People have been jailed for profiting by less than a hundredth of the amount he picked up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Insider Trading?

      That's to be expected. The more money someone has the less likely it is that they will be jailed.

      And, of course, people have gone to prison for insider trading during which they accidentally lost money.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Insider Trading?

      Yes, finance journos have looked into him. Seems he's done nothing improper, simply a series of scheduled stock sales announced publicly months in advance. I remember seeing reports about that. One of many clues that FB was dying.

      There's talk of prosecuting FB for failing to disclose the degree of mass privacy invasion to investors. I assume FB's covered its ass with weasel words, though.

  23. Horridbloke

    It was already dying

    FB usage amongst my associates peaked a good few years ago. Of my 150-ish "friends" the only regular posters are relatively recent converts. As a behavioural thing it seems to me to be something people just get bored of and stop doing after a bit. That does leave them with personal data, but I've compromised that a bit by entering massively inaccurate personal data.

    I laughed a lot when I saw the share price this week - never mind the drop, how the heck did it get that high? - then remembered my pension fund probably has a stake in it somewhere.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It was already dying

      Even if people stop using it what about all those websites that link through to Facebook anyway that they visit. Do you think they don't log that when they log into the account via a third party website or app?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Media and Twittersphere outrage......

    .....but pure misdirection.

    *

    The NSA, GCHQ, the Russians....and an endless list of other bad actors have been doing similar things for years (c.f. Snowden papers).....and not a peep from the journalists.

    *

    So what changed this week? Nothing....absolutely nothing at all!

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Media and Twittersphere outrage......

      "So what changed this week?"

      Publicity. It achieved critical mass.

    2. gbru2606

      Re: Media and Twittersphere outrage......

      "So what changed this week? Nothing....absolutely nothing at all!"

      Is it possible that the news might ultimately fail to reveal that a Referendum in the UK and the US election were both won as an arms-length black-ops operation by GCHQ and NSA? Unthinkable?

  25. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Mr Nix’s recent comments secretly recorded by Channel 4 and other allegations do not represent the values or operations of the firm"

    I take it the values or operations not represented amount to "don't get caught".

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Values and such

      I take it the values or operations not represented amount to "don't get caught".

      Quite

  26. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    $40k?

    "Facebook could be on the hook for $40,000 per person affected"

    Hello big data grabbers, you can have all my Facebook data for a discount rate of $39,000, this week only, yours to keep. I'll be the smug git with the paid off mortgage and new motor.

    1. bitten

      Re: $40k?

      My reaction: 40k, probably too late to create a facebook account

  27. Danny 2 Silver badge

    I find it very suspicious that the ICO still doesn't have a warrant to search Cambridge Analytica, or that they haven't responded to CA's claims that the company had been cooperating contrary to ICO claims.

    I noticed one US commentator claiming Cambridge Analytica's Facebook micro-targetting can't be that effective because it didn't work for Ted Cruz, and secondly because they wouldn't have to offer dirty tricks and honey traps if it did.

    I don't find that convincing because Cruz lost in the Primaries, and perhaps was intended by Mercer to lose. It seems to have worked elsewhere including Kenya, although we can't know how many times it failed to swing an election, but it seems criminally reckless in Kenya due to previous electoral violence there. Indeed, even to consider a Sri Lankan client is morally bankrupt for the same reason.

    This is at least as big a scandal as the NotW hacking scandal, and I'd suggest banning the Mercer family from any corporate involvement in the UK.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Pirate

      Too mild

      I'd suggest banning the Mercer family from any oxygen use.

      1. harmjschoonhoven

        Re: Too mild

        Re: I'd suggest banning the Mercer family from any oxygen use.

        You are not suggesting a few mg of Novichok, are you? Naughty, naughty!

        BTW what is that Facebook thing they are writing about, I never visited their website.

      2. tom dial Silver badge

        Re: Too mild

        The Mercers, like you and I and all other (US person) commenters on this and other threads here and on other sites, exercised rights guaranteed by the first amendment to the US constitution. Their chosen vehicle might have broken laws, but it does not, in fact, seem overly likely even based on Nix's fairly stupid statements to the fake Sri Lankans as shown in the linked CH4 video.

    2. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Also can’t discount the possibility that Ted Cruz is too repulsive even for American voters.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > I noticed one US commentator claiming Cambridge Analytica's Facebook micro-targetting can't be that effective because it didn't work for Ted Cruz

      I think it's ineffective because the sentiment of "likes" is murky, and FB is full of fake names and demographic info. On political topics, real people's sentiments may actually be lost in the noise from shills and bots. There are loads of data-bombing antics as well: "Boaty McBoatface" and "Penis Flood" and "Hitler Did Nothing Wrong" to name a few legendary ones.

      OTOH it's a goldmine for targeted advertising, phishing, and stalking. Friends lists, contact info, birthdays, favorite brands, interests and obsessions, embarrassing photos, drunken comments, etc.

      For what it's worth (you can find this on Fox, Breitbart, etc) the Trump campaign claimed it didn't work for them either. They only bought the CA data because the RNC establishment denied them access to its voter data... until a month before the election. They tested both datasets, found RNC's to be much higher quality, and never used CA's. So they claim.

      1. tom dial Silver badge

        A skeptical question from a Facebook nonuser (for practical purposes): troland, earlier, asserts that FB data "is a goldmine for targeted advertising." I wonder if this actually is justified based on measured results, or are the advertisers also drinking snake oil?

        I lean toward granting the accompanying points about phishing and especially stalking on the basis of their plausibility; that's one reason I mostly avoid Facebook.

    4. Robert 22

      You can be sure that CA's customers have every reason to distance themselves from the company.

      Also, if I recall correctly, Cruz did outlast most of the other contenders. Aside from this, in a primary contest, there are some limits on how far you can go - you can't afford to do things, such as disseminating widespread accusations of criminal conduct, that will destroy the overall reputation of the party.

  28. Roger Kynaston
    Pint

    Will this include other social media

    I can't wait till Google and the technology in search of a use known as twitter are caught with their electronic pants down as well.

    Beer because I deleted my facefail recently though I know that means sweet f/a to their owning me.

  29. Merchman

    Values

    "In the view of the Board, Mr Nix’s recent comments secretly recorded by Channel 4 and other allegations do not represent the values or operations of the firm and his suspension reflects the seriousness with which we view this violation,"

    Aren't the values of a company driven by the CEO and other board members?

    1. Horridbloke

      Re: Values

      Values = what the company says it wishes would happen.

      Policy = what the company wishes would happen.

      Culture = what actually happens.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Any Social Network Is Tomorrow's MySpace

    Someone I know wrote Facebook into his time travel novel, bad idea, will most people even know what Facef*ck was in 15 years?

    1. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: Any Social Network Is Tomorrow's MySpace

      Certainly not 15 years ago in the past.

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: Any Social Network Is Tomorrow's MySpace

        I tend to agree.

        However, if it survives, it might be called OASIS. or more likely IOI.

  31. unwarranted triumphalism

    It's too late for facts

    El Reg has assembled the lynch mob and the latest targets of ts outrage are going to hang, guilty or not.

    Guess it was OK when Obama and Clinton were doing this stuff, right?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's too late for facts

      Nobody should do it.

    2. Huw D

      Re: It's too late for facts

      If there is an El Reg lynch mob (which I don't think there is), it would be a minute percentage of the lynch mob that's out there on Twitter/Facebook/Mainstream media sites.

  32. Neil Gardner

    I think Cambridge Analytica merely scratches the surface at the extent of psychological warfare, which is naturally largely controlled by big governments and big business whose interested are most closely aligned with big banks and unaccountable remote supranational entities.

    However, here two establishment mouthpieces would have us believe that only the opponents of their beloved EU would dare use social media and other underhand tactics to sway the vote. My twitter feed is replete with promoted messages that are very much in favour of the EU, mass migration and Clintonite / Blairite politics.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "My twitter feed is replete with promoted messages that are very much in favour of the EU, mass migration and Clintonite / Blairite politics."

      It may, of course, be those opposed to such things who have had them promoted in order to wind you up. I suspect Unwarranted triumphalism of having a similar purpose.

    2. tom dial Silver badge

      At present it is arguable that the main practitioners of psychological warfare are the media that have, since 9 November 2016, been pushing the story that Donald Trump would have lost the election but for any number of actions by his campaign, its supporters, and foreign agents that, if not illegal should have been and need to be by the next election. And that, therefore, he is not legitimately the US President and must be brought down by any means possible, even the gentle coup of impeachment or finding him deranged.

      I did not vote for Donald Trump on the basis that he lacked the necessary political skill, experience and for the job and espoused policy positions with which I disagree. And I did not vote for Hillary Clinton on the basis that she was untrustworthy and unfit and espoused policy positions with which I disagree. Unlike a great many of the loudest voices in the public space, I accept the election outcome because that is the basic buy in necessary in a functioning republic.

      That does not relieve me or others of the obligation to oppose what we see as bad policy, but does require that we generally treat government institutions and office holders as legitimate and not treat policy differences as evidence of conspiracy and corruption until that is proved.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    LMFTFY

    The entire company is outraged we were CAUGHT.

    There...better

  34. Duncanmhor
    WTF?

    Misinformation Abounds

    The Herald has an article in it that proclaims: "I was right to decline these invitations, because as we now learn that OAUTH, or Open Authorisation, is one of the many ways that Facebook and the app developers conspire to access not only your data, but that of your friends and contacts."

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/16100549.Iain_Macwhirter__Why_social_media_is_about_to_meet_its_regulatory_nemesis/

    Political reporters should stick to politics

    1. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: Misinformation Abounds

      I politely disagree because you don't need to understand a technology to be affected by it. Non-military people should be able to write about wars to use an analogy. I'm slightly impressed Macwhirter didn't label it Open Authentication.

      He is not alone among non-technical journalists arguing for greater regulation, such as

      https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/03/its-time-to-regulate-the-internet/556097/

      I'd comment on Macwhirter's article to suggest new legislation so the ICO doesn't require a warrant to raid premises in future, but I'd have to use a social media account to log in!

  35. fpx
    Devil

    In this case the data was gathered by an application that gathered data for research.

    But the data is out there, and it's a feature of the Facebook platform that it can be vacuumed by applications. Nobody hesitates to grant Farmville or Angry Birds all the permissions that the damn app asks for, even if it is to sell out their own and all their friends' data. I imagine a lot of app makers are now realizing that they can make a fortune by selling their app's data to Cambridge Analytica and the like.

    Maybe we should hurry and buy some Zynga or Rovio stock. I'm sure they have detailed data on pretty much anyone on the planet by now.

    And Facebook can happily claim that they are just a platform, not responsible for what it is used for.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Fuzzy bird farming

      Maybe we should hurry and buy some Zynga or Rovio stock. I'm sure they have detailed data on pretty much anyone on the planet by now.

      They both kinda helped. So some of Zynga's apps locked features behind having x friends. From memory, extra pixel crack was awarded for having 500 or 1000 friends connected. So people promptly created their own ways to bulk add 'friends', who weren't friends in the conventional sense. That was useful for polluting your friends list, and confusing social network analysis attempts.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Farcebook

    Kids, I told you so. At last my kids know I was right all along and can't complain I know nothing.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nix

    German translation == Nothing.

    Jail the arrogant sod; not least for helping Trump win.

  38. Scott Pedigo
    Trollface

    Fines Up To $40,000 per User?

    If only.

    If only that would be paid out to me, rather than just go into to the government coffers.

    Now if there were enough Mexican Facebook users, then...

    The population of Mexico is about 130 million (I rounded up from a 2010 number). Let's assume 50 million are on Facebook (number pulled from thin air, since it is a nice round one) x $40,000 per user = two trillion dollars!

    Yes, enough to pay for the wall!!!

    But unfortunately 4 or 5 times the market cap of Facebook.

    Dammit. Mexicans still won't pay for that wall.

  39. JLV Silver badge
    Trollface

    see, don't even need those Russkies

    we can run a corrupt election all on our own

    Steve "BrummellBreitbart" Bannon

  40. steviebuk Silver badge

    I could be wrong but...

    ...I think Aleksandr Kogan is actually innocent of everything because listening to him on Radio 4 this morning he sounded genuine. Never sounded like he was trying to hide anything or lie.

    Even he's said most of what Cambridge Analytica has tried to sell people doesn't work anyway. Like swaying the election results and convincing people to vote Trump-ton.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: I could be wrong but...

      " Never sounded like he was trying to hide anything or lie."

      That means literally nothing. He could just be good at lying, to he could be believing his own lies. You can't reliably judge these things by demeanor.

    2. Robert 22

      Re: I could be wrong but...

      What do you think he is going to say???

  41. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    London based

    So calling themselves 'Cambridge Analytica' is just a marketing lie ?

    Doesn't help me believe them.

    1. ah umaway

      Re: London based

      It's obvious they tried to anchor in some Cambridge University aura. Plus, "analytica" is also a very smart word. Add some British sales charm and you're set. Ironically, the founder is Eton graduate. Apparently properly house broken as he doesn't soil his own nest.

  42. unwarranted triumphalism

    I see that in addition to the lynch mob, the tinfoil hat brigade have now arrived. Don't you get it? No one cares about what you do and there is no 'sinister cabal' or whatever watching you.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      "No one cares about what you do and there is no 'sinister cabal' or whatever watching you."

      If that's the case, then why do so many entities spend so much money to gather so much information about us? It seems like they care enough about what we do that they're willing to burn piles of money to learn it.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you think that CA is alone in this mess...

    Then you are very much in the dark!

    I have been studying dodgy Android apps for some time now and almost all of them slurp the users social media data by using the users access tokens through the Facebook Graph API and the : GET_ACCOUNTS, READ_CONTACTS, READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE, READ_LOGS and other permissions in the Manifest file.

    Almost every single "Antivirus/Anti-Hacking/Cleaner" app out there does all this and more.

    It will be very interesting to learn what companies and app developers have been supplying all this data.

    (But as another El Reg commentard has already predicted)..we may never know the full details due to bungled "investigations", destruction of evidence etc.

    1. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: If you think that CA is alone in this mess...

      Also, Free Credit Check adverts on the TV - "don't tell them your name, Pike"

  44. Jon Smit

    No Script shows Facebook scripting all over the place

    As a user of No Script, I'm aware that huge numbers of websites want users to allow Facebook scripting. I'm no programmer, but if I've got that crap running in the background all the time, Facebook must be collecting usage data from me, despite me not being on Facebook.

    Perhaps it's time these sites, who are mostly belong to media companies were told to stop this practice.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: No Script shows Facebook scripting all over the place

      "Perhaps it's time these sites, who are mostly belong to media companies were told to stop this practice."

      This is why I avoid newspaper websites. Our local rag wants me to not only unblock nearly 30 external domains up to 3 levels deep (unblocked scripts then further calling scripts from further domains) as well as unblock all the trackers etc. just to see a video of a local news story. The page eventually took over 5 minutes to load with everything turned off. Never, NEVER, again!!!!

  45. Bill M

    Emerdata Ltd

    Have a look at who are springing up as directors at Emerdata Ltd.

    1. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: Emerdata Ltd

      Tory donors on the board of Cambridge Analytics - and still no warrant for the ICO?

      At times like this the smear 'conspiracy theorist' is a badge of honour.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Emerdata Ltd

      Ah Yes. Dedicated to finding out who still watches

      Emmerdale

      Ducks to avoid incoming

  46. tom dial Silver badge

    Whether we like it or not, essentially everything the Nix described in Channel 4's expose clips is, and was, bog standard practice well known to US political campaign managers for many decades if not several centuries. Thomas Jefferson, as a presidential candidate, was attacked semi-anonymously (but apparently correctly) for having fathered a black child or so. Targeting then was seriously limited by the available technology, but Ray C. Bliss, as Ohio state, and later national, Republican chairman, certainly knew and used very similar techniques within the technological limits of the 1960s. As did Lee Atwater in the 1980s; as did Mary Matalin (for the Republicans) and her husband James Carville (for the Democrats) in the 1990s.

    It is tempting to say there is nothing new under the sun, but that is not quite true. Present technology differs quite a lot from that available in the past. It might even be more effective, although that is unproved and there is little persuasive evidence for it.

    There seems to be a concerted attempt to generate a moral panic, to be resolved by hasty investigations and perhaps legislation to control a phenomenon based on "science" that is not well established and, if subjected to reasonable analysis, may either be at odds with the rather large body of knowledge about voting behavior developed over the last 80 years or so, simply confirm it, or be somewhere between.

    For all the smoke, the Mueller investigation has been going for over a year and despite the breathless reporting about it the results do not overwhelm. So far, it has charged several Trump associates with crimes based on events several years before the start of the 2016 campaign that have no visible connection to it. He has accepted guilty pleas from several more for lying to FBI investigators about their activities during the campaign that, on their face, were not unlawful. And he has obtained indictments against 13 Russians who almost certainly never will be brought to trial and got a guilty plea from one individual for activities during the campaign that do not appear to have any connection to the official campaign. The new furor about Cambridge Analytica and Facebook doubtless will provide an excuse to extend it, and perhaps to reinvigorate congressional investigations. The probability is low that we will learn anything really new from it.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      "essentially everything the Nix described in Channel 4's expose clips is, and was, bog standard practice well known to US political campaign managers for many decades if not several centuries."

      This is true -- but so what? That in no way means it's OK, and in no way means we shouldn't fight against it.

  47. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge

    The obvious answer...

    is lie to facebook.

    If enough people did it, on a large enough scale, the dataset would be useless* and hence valueless.

    *except to sociologists/psychologists researching into social fiction.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Network

    I'm mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore!

  49. glauber

    FB must come to an end

    FB (the main site) is pure crap. Their open-source projects are the completely the opossite - the people behind it have all my respect as they produce a lot of good libs and utilities.

    1. ah umaway

      Re: FB must come to an end

      Open source software like Android and Mozilla are eternal golden eggs from ephemeral chicken. Whether the chicken is evil or kind, we keep the eggs.

      (and hardware too like sparc)

  50. Ray Merrall

    Missing something?

    Steve Bannon (and Mercer) paid 15 million into getting CA started - who to? CA looks like a shell company set up by SCL, like the Aussie company, Down Under, which means that the companies are being run as arms length and deniable. SCL management, staff and administrators are seconded to the shell companies to perform on specific markets. Which begs the question, which part of SCL dealt with the UK political scene, and who paid?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Missing something?

      Nobody cares. It's no longer on the front page so the average Facebook users has already forgotten about it and moved on to the next fluffy kitten story.

  51. checktuo
    Happy

    you should be using a fake facebook account with fake date of birth and fake whatever else you can think of.

  52. Brian Allan 1

    "Cambridge Analytica is scrambling in the wake of damning media reports"

    They couldn't ask for better, inexpensive publicity than this! They're in the business of politics, i.e.: money, power and corruption...

  53. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Share = Sell

    Too many comments say something like "Facebook 'shares' data with….."

    FB makes money by SELLING personal data. That's what they do to make the bulk of their money. Read the ToS and their Privacy Policy and see if you can spot the telltale sentences. Users have checked the little box and agreed so I don't see how there will be any fines levied on FB in a legal manner. I'm not saying there won't be, just that FB hasn't done anything to violate their own stated policies.

    FB's problem with CA is that they didn't pay for the data and made it known where the data that they used came from.

    If you are receiving a product or service for free, you are the product being sold. If you catch yourself ever uttering "but this is different" or some such, go stand in the corner for an hour and no desert for a week. You are being stupid, again.

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