Recently a Facebook friend brought a documentary to my attention, which investigates the use of fake news in manipulating the 2016 US elections. According to above linked documentary – which is in German, sorry, there’s a shorter version of similar content in English at this URL, but probably not identical, I haven’t watched it yet – Cambridge Analytica gained access to millions of Facebook user profiles and collected their “digital footprint” thus creating a large body of data, which they subsequently and meticulously analyzed with particular focus on political affiliation, but also more personal properties, qualities and behaviours such as e.g. purchasing history, socio-cultural preferences, age, gender, general political and societal position etc. etc. The analysis generated a highly specific data set which C.A. then used to target a certain demographic whom they’d consider critical as to the outcome of both candidates’ campaigns.
In particular, the documentary mentions the use of what’s called “dark posts” – they’re basically specifically targeted ads – in manipulating those demographics’ mindset and thus their cast at the ballot.
I watched this documentary twice to make sure that I’ve understood everything accurately. If I were in the shoes of special investigator Robert Mueller into Trump’s alleged Russia liaison, I’d completely drop that avenue of investigation – or at the least set it far aside – and focus all my attention and investigative energy and power into the link between Cambridge Analytica and particularly Facebook, who apparently gave Cambridge Analytica a lot apparent lenience in accessing and using Facebook user profiles and data to drive an effort, which – according to this film – leaves little to zero doubt as to who was responsible for swaying voters’ position in the 2016 elections race: Cambridge Analytica with the help of Facebook and their provision of user data.
But see for yourself, if so inclined…