On The Bill Press Show, Angelo Carusone explains how Cambridge Analytica's data theft helped elect Trump and spread fake news

On The Bill Press Show, Angelo Carusone explains how Cambridge Analytica's data theft helped elect Trump and spread fake news 


From the March 26 edition of The Young Turks Network's The Bill Press Show

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BILL PRESS (HOST): You've been doing a lot on, your great team at Media Matters, on this whole flap over Facebook. How could this happen? As Zuckerberg says, "I'm very sorry." Yeah, well -- private data on 50 million Americans. They knew people were taking it, then they -- they knew and they didn't follow through with how they were using it, right?

ANGELO CARUSONE (MEDIA MATTERS PRESIDENT): That's right, and I think that that's the part that's really at issue here, is that people gave this data to this research company, like they do for a lot of the apps that they sign up for, and that's something that Facebook and other platforms need to make more accessible and easier, but people also need to manage that themselves to an extent. People just click the terms and services button, they don't pay attention. 

That said, what the app developer did was give that -- because the app developer was really Cambridge Analytica in disguise. They posed and propped up this phony research operation to get access to this information, and then the app data gave it to Cambridge. They made a copy of it, basically, which they shouldn't have done. So when Facebook turned off Cambridge's access to it, fine, the thing that concerns me, and this gets back to the how did this all happen, is that, one, there's pretty clear evidence that there's copies of this exact same data set elsewhere, whether it be with Trump's Super PAC, or with his own campaign --

PRESS: Or how about with the John Bolton Super PAC?

CARUSONE: Right, or -- exactly, because of the fact that while many of them were using the services, some of them were actually going so far as to integrate their databases, and that's where the difference starts to come in, that they actually have copies of it that are still in use. So that's one thing. How it happens is really ultimately the big story of how fake news and disinformation happened in 2016, which is that on the one hand, Facebook has an effort to mollify some of their critics, and weren't proactive enough. And on the other hand they just kept getting duped. So when they fired all of the human editors, after that story that they were "censoring" conservative content, there was a three-fold increase in the reach of fake news. For the first time it exceeded the overall reach of all of real news sources combined. Just from that one change, overnight. Trump's suppression campaign would have never been able to happen if they didn't turn it over to an automated approval process instead of human advertising people that are reviewing that stuff. And it was all -- time and again, they just kept giving in. 


CARUSONE: If you look at the numbers, prior to Mark Zuckerberg making that change in May of 2016, the reach, the overall amount of people that were exposed to this was pretty stable. Once he made that change, a lot of this stuff started making its way into the Trending Topics sections on Facebook, which meant more and more people were seeing it, and it just spills over. A three-fold increase almost overnight. 

To watch the full interview, click HERE.


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Angelo Carusone, Bill Press
The Bill Press Show
Trump / Russia
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