In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, Democrats and pundits shocked by Donald Trump’s victory scrambled to explain how he could have possibly won. Some pointed to Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm employed by the Trump campaign that claims to have built extensive personality profiles, with over 5,000 data points, on every American, based on their online habits.
Cambridge Analytica says it uses them for so-called “psychographic targeting,” or crafting political advertisements and marketing campaigns that cater to people’s specific personality types. Some argued the firm’s shady techniques manipulated Americans into voting for Trump.
Exactly what Cambridge Analytica did, and how how much of an impact it had on the election has been debated in the press for the past year. But its tactics are still frightening to people concerned about online privacy, who believed they represent a future in which political campaigns and corporations exploit our unique vulnerabilities for their gain. It turns out, their fears were not unwarranted.
A massive new peer-reviewed study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) last month indicates that psychographic targeting techniques are incredibly effective, and don’t require much knowledge about marketing to execute.
Psychological persuasion starts by building a profile about you using public information available online, like your tweets, Facebook Likes, or Instagram photos. Previous research shows that people’s psychological characteristics can be accurately predicted from their digital footprints.
We are angry, frustrated, and in pain because of the violence and murder of Black people by the police because of racism. We are in the fight AGAINST RACISM. George Floyd was murdered, his life stolen. The Adafruit teams have specific actions we’ve done, are doing, and will do together as a company and culture. We are asking the Adafruit community to get involved and share what you are doing. The Adafruit teams will not settle for a hash tag, a Tweet, or an icon change. We will work on real change, and that requires real action and real work together. That is what we will do each day, each month, each year – we will hold ourselves accountable and publish our collective efforts, partnerships, activism, donations, openly and publicly. Our blog and social media platforms will be utilized in actionable ways. Join us and the anti-racist efforts working to end police brutality, reform the criminal justice system, and dismantle the many other forms of systemic racism at work in this country, read more @ adafruit.com/blacklivesmatter
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.