Summary of The Noisy Fallacies of Psychographic Targeting

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Facebook lost billions of dollars in market value after it became public knowledge that Cambridge Analytica, a data firm that worked for President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign, harvested data from millions of Facebook users and used the information to change the outcome of the election. The data breach has created such public outrage that few people have questioned the scandal’s underlying assumption: that Cambridge Analytica’s voter targeting campaign succeeded at influencing voters. Antonio García Martínez, a former product manager at Facebook, doesn’t believe it did – and explains the reason for his skepticism in an opinion piece for Wired. getAbstract recommends his analysis to advertising industry professionals and anybody interested in questioning the conventional wisdom in a rapidly evolving news scandal.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How Cambridge Analytica tried to infer political leanings from people’s online behavior and
  • Why Cambridge Analytica’s targeted advertising campaign was most likely ineffective. 
 

About the Author

Antonio García Martínez is a tech entrepreneur, best-selling author, and an Ideas contributor for Wired

 

Summary

A media firestorm around data company Cambridge Analytica erupted after a whistleblower revealed that the company used the personal data of around 50 million unknowing Facebook users to design targeted political ads during the 2016 US presidential election campaign. Cambridge Analytica was able to access the data with the help of Aleksandr Kogan, a researcher at the Department of Psychology at Cambridge University. Kogan designed a personality survey in which hundreds of thousands of Facebook users participated. That way, Cambridge Analytica obtained partial access to personal Facebook data of about a third of eligible US voters – the survey participants’ as well as information about their Facebook contacts.


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