The Cambridge Analytica story is moving so fast that it can be hard to make sense of. Below is my list of essential reading, broken down by topic. As far as I can tell, here’s what we DON’T know:
- Did the Trump campaign even use Cambridge Analytica data to any great extent? CA claims they were the brains behind the operation; digital director Brad Parscale says no. According to the latest CNN story, it looks as though they provided data analysis services but that the campaign rejected their targeting models.
- Did Cambridge Analytica unleash a whole raft of classic dirty tricks in its international work? Or were its executives exaggerating to win over a potential client in the Channel 4 videos?
- Did Cambridge Analytica improperly coordinate with US-based political organizations as part of its work with the Trump campaign?
- Was Cambridge Analytica a secret conduit to Russian actors trying to influence the election?
- Bigger picture: is Cambridge Analytica ingeniously manipulative or just a big bunch of liars?
Background: Trump’s 2016 Digital Campaign
- Inside the Trump Bunker, With Days to Go. Highlights role of data in Trump campaign; note the competition among vendors. Contradicts CA’s recent claims to be the brains behind Trump’s digital operation.
- To Help Elect Trump, Brad Parscale Automated Facebook Best Practices on a Vast Scale.
- Parscale talks to 60 Minutes about how the campaign used Facebook. In which he says that his team did not need to use Cambridge Analytica data.
- Did ‘Dark’ Facebook Posts Win Trump the White House?
- Essential Reading: Trump, Russia, Facebook & Twitter (compiled October/November of 2017).
Cambridge Analytica: Big Picture
- Everything you need to know about the Cambridge Analytica-Facebook debacle. Good overview piece. C.f. All the ways Trumpâ€™s campaign was aided by Facebook, ranked by importance.
- Was Cambridge Analytica a digital Svengali or snake-oil salesman?. I lean toward the latter, but let’s learn more. C.f. If Cambridge Analytica is so smart, why isnâ€™t Ted Cruz president?
- Donâ€™t Give Cambridge Analytica Too Much Credit. Psychographic targeting is nothing new, and it’s not magic.
- Cambridge Analyticaâ€™s ‘mindfuck tool’ could be totally useless.
- Leaked: Cambridge Analytica’s blueprint for Trump victory. Cambridge marketing materials provide more details, but still suggests that their role was more in data analytics than outreach.
- Revealed: Trumpâ€™s election consultants filmed saying they use bribes and sex workers to entrap politicians. Part 1 of Channel 4’s expose, in which CA executives try to sell some old-school dirty tricks amplified by digital means.
- Exposed: Undercover secrets of Trumpâ€™s data firm. More of Channel 4’s expose, in which CA executives claim that they were behind all of Trump’s data and digital. Was Parscale lying when he said CA’s data played no role in his work, or were THEY lying to get business?
- Cambridge Analytica Has Suspended Its CEO, Who Bragged About Influencing Elections With Psychographic Profiles and Sex Workers. C.f. The CEO of Cambridge Analytica Was Caught on Video Offering to Meddle in Elections Using Sex Workers and Fake Bribes.
- A new undercover video raises significant questions about Cambridge Analyticaâ€™s elections work.
- Cambridge Analytica: Warrant sought to inspect company. “The UK’s Information Commissioner is to apply to court for a warrant to search the offices of London-based political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica.”
- New Jersey investigating Facebook, Cambridge Analytica.
- Cambridge Analytica’s Psy-Ops Warriors: Behind Trump’s stolen Facebook data lurks a team of spooks and right-wing generals.
- Cambridge Analytica and the digital war in Africa.
- ‘Cambridge Analytica planted fake news’. More from the whistleblower.
- Cambridge Analytica’s ruthless bid to sway the vote in Nigeria.
- Cambridge Analytica’s Real Business Isn’t Data: The firm is part of a secretive political consulting industry that helps make fake elections look legitimate.
- John Boltonâ€™s Cambridge Analytica Connection “The embattled data firm earned more than $1.1 million from Boltonâ€™s super PAC.”
Cambridge Analytica and Facebook
- Suspending Cambridge Analytica and SCL Group from Facebook. Facebook’s announcement.
- FTC opens investigation into Facebook after Cambridge Analytica scrapes millions of usersâ€™ personal information. Facebook may have broken a 2011 consent decree around user data protection.
- Mark Zuckerberg apologizes for the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
- How Cambridge Analyticaâ€™s whistleblower became Facebookâ€™s unlikely foe.
- Bannon oversaw Cambridge Analyticaâ€™s collection of Facebook data, according to former employee. Bannon was on the company’s board; in 2014 was already testing anti-establishment themes.
- Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook made mistakes in handling the Cambridge Analytica scandal, but he stops short of apologizing.
- Facebook Is Passing the Buck: The company has finally responded to the Cambridge Analytica scandalâ€”sort of..
- The Real Scandal Isnâ€™t What Cambridge Analytica Did: Itâ€™s what Facebook made possible.I.e., mass misuse of user data.
- One of the Data Scientists Involved in the Cambridge Analytica Mess Now Works at Facebook.
- Ex-Obama Campaign Director Drops Bombshell Claim on Facebook: ‘They Were on Our Side’. Also says Fb was cool with them recreating the social graph back in 2012, also via a Facebook app.
Cambridge Analytica and the Trump Campaign
- Inside the Trump campaign’s ties with Cambridge Analytica. Brad Parscale rejects Cambridge’s Trump victory claim; article includes much talk about CA being hype.
- Lewandowski: I turned down Cambridge Analytica three times when I ran Trump campaign.
- What Were the Trump Campaignâ€™s Ties to Cambridge Analytica?
- In Hidden-Camera ExposÃ©, Cambridge Analytica Executives Boast Of Role In Trump Win. Note the potential for illegal coordination.
- Cambridge Analytica’s Role In Trump’s 2016 Campaign Raises Potential Legal Flags.
- Cambridge Analytica whistleblower says company worked with Corey Lewandowski, Steve Bannon. More details on CA’s interactions with the Trump campaign.
- Ted Cruz says Cambridge Analytica told his presidential campaign its data use was legal.
Cambridge Analytica and the Russians
- Hereâ€™s a Photo of Cambridge Analyticaâ€™s CEO With the Russian Ambassador to the UK. “One of these men boasted of blackmailing politicians. The other is Putinâ€™s representative.”
- Data Firm Tied to Trump Campaign Talked Business With Russians, contradicting company’s testimony before Parliament.
- Cambridge Analytica Looked to Pounce on Russian Hacks, Email Shows. Eager to take advantage of leaded Clinton messages in the summer of 2016.
- Did Cambridge Analytica Leverage Russian Disinformation for Trump?
- How Did the Russians Know to Target Michigan & Wisconsin on Facebook?