Imagine being a young Canadian data scientist, believing you were hired to discover techniques to battle extremist ideologies. Then you discover what can be used to counter conspiracy theories and racial tensions can also be used to generate them. Worse, you are working for the company doing it.
Wylie testified to congress and parliament in 2008 but I didn't follow it. He just released a book and did two interviews in particular that got me to read it:
The book is filled with explanations of exactly how they did it. They specifically targeted people who are vulnerable to conspiracy theories or racial superiority. Facebook data is ideal for this because movies we like are clues as is our style of parenting (believing in physical punishment with children is correlated to white supremacy) and our friends. These clues give companies and nation states the power to alter our beliefs. He was able to see how effective it is.
Is anyone on Cake reading it? If you wonder why we're so polarized, Wylie has compelling answers. The bad news is now that nation states have seen how effective it is, there is much more to come and apparently not much we can do about it. Our military was designed to shoot down missles, not counter Facebook ads.