Social media has been ‘captured’

25 March 2018 - 11:21
By Nico Gous
File photo.
Image: Panithan Fakseemuang/ File photo.

Social media has been “captured”.

That is what tech expert Toby Shapshak said on Sunday morning in an interview with eNCA along with social media lawyer Emma Sadleir.

Shapshak said: “The Twitter bots‚ the whole WMC (white monopoly capital) campaign run by Bell Pottinger on Twitter‚ all of this stuff ‚ we have suddenly realised that things created in a democracy for the spread of good information has been usurped.”

They were speaking about the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook scandal. Facebook was rocked this week after a whistleblower alleged London-based political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica gained access to the information of 50 million Facebook users to build profiles on American users.

This information was reportedly used to help elect US President Donald Trump in 2016.

Shapshak believes the public has become aware of how they have been “manipulated”.

“Facebook is really pissed off about the fact that Cambridge Analytica is doing to people what Facebook does to people. Facebook knows as much as it can about you. It mines your information. It digs into your preferences‚ your life‚ what you look at‚ what movies you watch‚ what TV you watch‚ what music you listen to‚ your political preferences‚ all of these things so that it can target advertising‚” Shapshak said.

“Along comes Cambridge Analytica and takes that aspect and only applies it to your political preferences and uses that to manipulate you to either vote for someone or not vote for someone. Now there is a word for that‚ it is called propaganda.”

Sadleir believes this scandal is the “tipping point”.

“I think that the tipping point has been that we are okay with it for advertising purposes. We’re not okay with it when Facebook starts using our information for social engineering‚ propaganda and for political purposes.”