Control the Message

Old style mainstream media was out in force against Labour in GE2019 according to this article. It claims that the Mainstream Media was “Rigged” against Labour and for the Conservatives. But most people already know that the newspapers are owned by billionaires and are right wing. GE2019 was different becuase it was not just the newspapers but bias within the BBC, and TV in general, and also – probably for the first time – online through both search engine manipulation effect (SEME) and social media gaslighting. Not just Big Data analytics either…

Beyond SEME, is the use of intelligent Bot systems (where developers actually get help and support from the bot technology that they are using!)…

This seems to be a key tool in automating the Conservative GE2019 campaign, to control the message. How many people were fooled by disinformation, controlled messages, the dopamine hit of a “like” to right wing comment from a bot, or an AI message from a new “friend” that appeared to be taking interest in their opinions?

Botpress has a nice graphic interface and the developers get support from the bot, giving friendly advice on how to achieve particular goals. It can even autocomplete various functions. Botpress, or similar tools from Google or Pandora, adds more detail to the description in an earlier DailyGasLamp article here. In that article it described bots and sock puppets. Botpress would be the Bot component (while a “sock puppet” is just a person with multiple identities).

Interestingly, these systems are used by some major, major companies that supply the UK government with their systems… so this type of technology would be known to Dominic Cummings who from his blog post seems to have quite an interest in the subject.

Botpress also comes with a facebook connector (info here). How to use this tool is described here… the peak downloads for this software was June 2019 – plenty of time to ramp up development for GE2019. Botpress capabilities vs competiting products is described here.

The set up and running of this technology requires a huge amount of capital intensive investment – the rich are organised “few” – the 1%, less than 0.01% actually – and they outgun the poor, the disorganised “many”. So democracy is now a hidden war between people-powered electioneering (“the people”) against a limitless army of hidden robots controlled and funded by a few billionaires. Democracy vs oligarchy – we currently have the latter…

What is all the fuss about Cambridge Analytica? Part 2

Part 1 described the origins of Cambridge Analytica when Steve Bannon persuaded oligargh Robert Mercer to invest in the company in order to infulence the 2016 presidential election. Who is Robert Mercer? He is an American multi-multi-millionaire who funded various right wing political activity including Nigel Farage’s Brexit campaign as well as funding many right-wing political causes in the United States, such as Breitbart News and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign for president.

Mercer started out as computer scientist, an early artificial intelligence researcher, then later became CEO of the hedge fund company Renaissance Technologies. In 2015, The Washington Post called Mercer one of the ten most influential billionaires in politics. Mercer was shown data that indicated “voters were becoming alienated from both political parties and mainstream candidates” which probably led him to support Trump in the Republican race in 2016.

To test run, Cambridge Analytica’s approach to infulence elections, Mercer became involved in the EU Referendum, donating the services of Cambridge Analytica (CA) to Nigel Farage and Leave.EU. CA harvested data from Facebook profiles (more about in Part 3) in order to target them with individualized ads to vote for Brexit. CA, through Canadian digital firm AggregateIQ also advised Dominic Cummings’ VoteLeave campaign, which delivered an estimated one billion individually curated targeted adverts to voters in the lead up to the Brexit referendum, in contravention of established voting rules. Neither VoteLeave and Leave.EU informed the UK electoral commission of Mercer’s donations. In 2018, the Electoral Commission found the VoteLeave campaign guilty of breaking electoral law.

For the 2016 US Presidential Election, it was revealed that Mercer funded anti-muslim adverts on facebook.

“Adverts”… it sounds so tame, doesn’t it? Part 3 will be discussing this in more detail but in the meantime, this is a must-watch TED talk by Carole Cadwallar who slams into facebook and the impact that social media is making on the UK’s antiquated election laws.