The Noisy Fallacies of Psychographic Targeting

The Noisy Fallacies of Psychographic Targeting

Cambridge Analytica’s targeting efforts probably didn’t work, but Facebook should be embarrassed anyway.

Wired, 2018




  • Innovative
  • Eye Opening


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.


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 ...

About the Author

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

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