by Giovanni Cianferoni
In this winter issue of Toscana&Chianti I want to tell you of the Cambridge Analytica scandal which filled newspaper pages in 2018. The affair was not fully grasped by the public opinion and this is why I would like to better explain what happened. Through a game, a kind of short questionnaire to download from Facebook, this company managed to come into possession of about 75 million user profiles complete with everything: posts, pictures, ecc. They were inserted in a mega computer for the elaboration of “Big Data” and then on the occasion of elections (everything seems to have started with Brexit) they started to send personal notifications to each of these 75 million users with the wording studied according to each user’s preferences. To better explain: to convince voters to vote for Trump, (another case which has to do with the scandal) if users had made a research or a comment about a red cabriolet car the system would send them this message: “Hi Gianni! Did you know Trump loves red sports cars?”. This way the potential voter would empathise with the candidate, finding things in common. This had an explosive effect on the ballot boxes on a subliminal level, making Brexit in England and Trump in the States win against all odds. My explanation was very simplified in that the techniques used have been greatly sophisticated like the earnings Cambridge Analytica pocketed.