Tworek on Cambridge Analytica

18 05 2017

Heidi Tworek of UBC has posted an excellent piece that puts the recent wave of hysteria about the role of Cambridge Analytica in swaying recent elections into historical perspective. She notes that fears of mass manipulation by new media are as old as mass media themselves. The advent of every new media technology provoked concerns about the contagious emotions and irrationality of the unwashed masses. Heidi writes:

Did “sinister” emotional manipulation by the data analytics company, Cambridge Analytica, decide the U.S. election? History suggests otherwise.

For over a century, there has been a recurrent theme of exaggerating and mythologizing the power of new communications technology to influence mass psychology. Take a deep breath and ensure that we don’t need to wait decades to debunk the new old fear of the manipulated masses.

Heidi has written a great piece, one that covers everything from the legendary War of the World’s broadcast to the rise of Big Data.



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