• mayukmoulick

Which firm mirrors Cambridge Analytica in India?

Updated: Sep 7, 2020

Cambridge Analytica, a data-driven company that provided communication consultancy services to its political and business clients. The UK headquartered company had expertise in dealing with behavioral science with the help of data and also created several campaigns across the globe in association with its American subsidiary SCL group.

Providing a wider picture, SCL group Analytica had used approximately 87 million Facebook user’s personal data to manipulate the campaigns ran during the BREXIT and 2016 US elections in order to match-up with the objectives of their clients. These clients have decided to build perception based on trigger points of people, or let’s say, voters! During a trial, ex-employee of Cambridge Analytica, Brittany Kaiser had revealed in the court that the company had deliberately used the user data sold by Facebook earlier, even after Facebook had stopped giving access, after asking their clients not to utilize the user data further, without their consent. In 2016, the company had used this user data in US elections to support the campaigning done for Donald Trump, despite the fact that they have officially accepted the deletion of user data almost a year ago. Later on, after this major data scandal incident, the company had to shut down its operations.

In a country like India, election campaigning has always been considered as a high-priority task backed by a million-dollar budget allocated by the respective political parties. The bigger concern here comes with a question of identification that is there any firm in India which mirror the role and activities committed by Cambridge Analytica, especially during BREXIT, and 2016 Donald Trump political campaigns.

Based on the user information provided by multiple netizens like you and me, these analytic firms categorizes our profile. After the same, they started providing us the influential content directly, or indirectly in the form of social media tools like article links of manipulated news stories, posts, pictures, memes, etc. It’s an algorithmic process to consolidate the likes and dislikes, religious and patriotic sentiments, elements of fear and pride in an individual’s life, and later to put them under a specific group. These are called as the trigger points of a psychologically driven mind which further drives the action and beliefs of a person. Here, an individual can be treated with the desired set of perception building processes which creates an unconscious negative or positive mindset towards a particular political decision, party, individual leader, action, or consequence. This leads to mass polarisation in the country.

How much Indians are prepared/capable/ready to understand that they are a Cyber-victim, targeted by the potential groups?

While we are talking about the influential campaigns, let’s talk about its segments like paid commercials, biased media, famous platforms developing targeted content, spreading twisted and tweaked news, hiding the necessary facts from reporting, using abusive language, threatening messages on social media platforms from fake accounts, are all acting as the pillars in order to fulfill the indirect promotion of political propaganda.

The question remains, are the political parties in India have understood well the fact that indirect influential communication through the modern quick platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Telegram, Quora, Snapchat, LinkedIn, etc is the key to success and win elections. Not only winning the elections but also diverting millions of minds towards believing in their set of ideologies. If yes, then which are these firms in India who are using your data consisting of psychological choices, and preferences in their favour, and for their benefit of interest.

Developing Strategic Communication – A complete package for a completely targeted audience!

Bombarding the inboxes day & night, popping frequently on Facebook and Instagram’s newsfeed with paid collaborative posts, supporting arguments with fake, fabricated, and selective facts based news stories. A social media tool called ‘Meme’ plays a vital role in order to get good traction for your Page. But when these pages started accepting monetary compensation for creatively designed content in order to manipulate the political ideologies of youth, then it becomes a serious matter of concern.

Moreover, we need to think is there any alternative solution where a user can completely opt himself out from sharing his personal data with these technology giants, or it is compulsory for them to share the same in order to watch relevant ads. Also, these kind of campaigning practices are fair to our democracy, or not?

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