Facebook | Cambridge Analytica – Making friends and influencing people

Cambridge Analytica - Making friends and influencing people

Where to start with this…  No doubt you will have seen recent news reports regarding Facebook, their sharing of your data and an organisation called Cambridge Analytica or you will have heard plenty of people claiming it’s time to “delete Facebook”.

If you haven’t and are blissfully unaware, head here: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/17/data-war-whistleblower-christopher-wylie-faceook-nix-bannon-trump

… and here: https://www.channel4.com/news/exposed-undercover-secrets-of-donald-trump-data-firm-cambridge-analytica

Now, I do not wish to defend Facebook nor to convince you not to delete your Facebook. But the media and social frenzy that’s going on right now are currently missing a few key points and following this current trend is going to do nothing to help improve your online data privacy. In fact, it may make it worse

I do want to share a few key points that matter and help frame the bigger picture as I can see it. In doing that, I hope to help stop any negative frenzy and keep people’s attention and focus on those answers we all deserve from Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.

Social Media, Data and Targeting

I use social media and digital platforms to reach, engage and advertise to specific target audiences. I have helped a variety of organisations from oil and gas, retail, fashion to social good, all through appropriate targeting and content via targeted advertising.

Since this story broke, I have received several calls and taken part in several online discussions and debates. I have concerns from clients and friends that everything is compromised in one way or another. Whilst that is far from the truth, they are rightly concerned and in some cases wrongly “deleting Facebook”.

Lots of us working with digital and social platforms do so morally; holding ourselves to a code of conduct that spans from the services we use to the law itself. We don’t have people’s private information, nor do we want it. We want to reach and engage with people who matter, who want to be reached with information that matches their interests and behaviours. We have no interest in leveraging or negatively influencing you as a consumer or person. We never want to manipulate and we certainly do not want to reach people who are not interested.

It’s rare, but yes, some of us can be a power for good…

But that is now being questioned, it’s a dark and dangerous space, the Wild West of advertising. It’s not. There are bad eggs everywhere in this world, we all know that but the way this story is being consumed and shared, simply isn’t right and it isn’t helping. So I thought it best to clear a few important points up about what is and isn’t going on.

Now, this is a huge story. An ongoing story. A complex story. One of the people, privacy, politics, big business and a lot, lot worse. I’m not talking to the scale of an episode of “House of Cards” here, I am talking about a whole series!!!

But I’m not going to discuss that story. Other agencies exist for that but it’s very much worth your attention.

Now, buckle up… things are about to go to 11.

What is going on…

News recently broke that reported Cambridge Analytica acquired and harvested the private information from millions of Facebook users without their permission and that Cambridge Analytica used this data to target and influence individuals for their clients’ gain including the US Presidential Election. The focus of this story has been on Facebook and how Facebook gave this information to Cambridge Analytica.

Whilst this is certainly a headline and attention-grabbing angle, it buries the lead.

Firstly, whilst Cambridge Analytica did acquire this information from Facebook, they did not buy it and Facebook did not simply give it to Cambridge Analytica.

This information was acquired via the Facebook API (Application Programming Interface), the means by which apps and service talks to the Facebook Platform. Prior to changes in April 2015, users who authorised third-party apps to access their Facebook profile also willingly, but perhaps not fully consciously, gave these apps access to some of their personal Facebook profile data. This contained a variety of public (and some private) information such as name, email, age, sex, the Facebook Pages you liked and more. At the time, this would also provide similar information from your friends too, without their expressed permission.

Whilst this information was and is controllable by Facebook users in the Privacy Settings, it wasn’t altogether known as behaviourally people aren’t that great at comprehending their own privacy implications, let alone that of their ‘friends’.

This action gave Cambridge Analytica a suite of personal information from your Facebook Profile and unfortunately that of your friends. Subtly and importantly, Facebook did not simply give or sell anyone’s data. This data was acquired by Facebook in a means that anyone who read Facebook’s policies and terms (the thing you are supposed to do when you sign up and regularly thereafter) would know about. A means via their developer program that is applied and measured.

Cambridge Analytica would then take this data and along with the other data received directly by all these people filling out online surveys and questionnaires, they ended up with a wonderfully healthy dataset of people’s likes, interests, views, leanings, etc.

When Facebook identified that Cambridge Analytica was pulling a lot of information from the Facebook API, and allegedly they did know, Facebook contacted Cambridge Analytica for breaching their API terms. Cambridge Analytica responded that this was all for research purposes, an act allowed under Facebook’s terms, and things continued.

Yes – Facebook had an opportunity to stop the data breach. Cambridge Analytica lied, and Facebook believed them.

When it was finally identified that Cambridge Analytica had lied to Facebook, Facebook ordered Cambridge Analytica to delete all information. Cambridge Analytica said they did, and Facebook believed them.

Wait, what…

Whilst simplified, this is a huge failing on Facebook’s part. Their actions were not good enough and allowed a situation where one commercial organisation could begin to steer change across communities countries and nations. One that absolutely needs to be answered and has begun with a statement from Mark Zuckerberg.

“I wish we’d taken those steps earlier … That … is probably the biggest mistake that we made here.” – Mark Zuckerberg

Additional changes are coming and that is a good thing. If Facebook is to rebuild people’s trust and information, they have a lot to do. Whether they achieve this or in what form, that remains to be seen.

The other story here is how Cambridge Analytica illegally took a dataset from Facebook, convinced people to provide additional information and then used this information against people via psychographic messaging and fear, across digital media for their own and their client’s personal and professional gain.

There’s a good thread here from @saradannerdukic on Twitter that’s worth your attention, which looks deeper into Cambridge Analytica and Facebook: https://twitter.com/saradannerdukic/status/976125179049988097

This is less Wild West and a lot more Blofeld. It isn’t about digital ads, targeting or retargeting at all, it’s about the abuse of personal data and perverse actions at Cambridge Analytica.

No, I’m not joking. As I said, “House of Cards” level stuff – https://www.channel4.com/news/exposed-undercover-secrets-of-donald-trump-data-firm-cambridge-analytica

Stay informed!

So please, follow this story, share your concerns and speak with those around you familiar with what’s going on. Take this moment to remind yourself of your privacy settings and knowledge of it across digital media, review all of your privacy settings and protect yourself and friends from big business and importantly those manipulators like Cambridge Analytica.

For Facebook, you can review privacy settings here: https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=privacy

… and you can review what apps have access to your profile data here: https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=applications

Whilst my phone continues to ring with concern from clients and friends alike, I will keep sharing. I’ll be following and learning more as this progresses and bring my technical knowledge of platforms and technology to cut through the misinformation and nonsense.

If anyone has alternate information or insight, please do share.

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Live Streaming on Social Media

Live Streaming on Social Media

There is no doubt that Live streaming across social media is a hot topic of the moment that brings many benefits and delivers an authentic experience to social video. Not to mention the social algorithm and reach benefits currently delivered to those going live.

At Border.Digital, I'm no stranger to live streaming and even multi-camera, mobile broadcast-level live streaming. I have live streamed on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter for the company and clients. I've streamed from within a 16th century prison and was even the first ever to multi-camera live stream a mobile parade for over a mile on Facebook. Those have been fun technical challenges, I can tell you!!!

... answer many of the potential questions and dangers that may have stopped you from jumping on the wagon

This experience has helped answer plenty of the potential questions and dangers that may have stopped you from jumping on and streaming online. I've seen many more make fundamental errors and clearly jumping on the bandwagon without appropriately thinking it through. So allow me to share and help you confidently take the first step or to raise the bar...

Why Go Live?

Excellent question! Here's some of the important questions you should always ask:

What are the benefits to going live for this?

What engagements do you want to drive or expect to exist?

Could this be a recording that can be carefully edited?

Is this really a moment that should be live?

Believe me, I have seen many a live video with poor production and evenworse delivery that's failed to deliver its key message at that moment and now still exists online for other to watch on demand. Content that if it were recorded and then edited correctly would continue to serve the business and brand over time as viewership continued after the event.

Additionally, it's about showcasing right now and engaging with your viewers and community in the moment. If neither of these points are a requirement, you may be risking quality brand content just to go live.

How to Go Live?

There are many ways to go live from your mobile, to desktop, to special camera's and units. For most though, it's as simple as taking their phones out of their pockets and pressing a few buttons. But believe me when I say, 90% of those that do that are creating very poor content.

Remember, you and your brand are expecting time and attention from your audience and community. This comes with responsibilities.

There is nothing more annoying than a shaky video. You want peoiple to be engaged, not trying to keep down their lunch. Get comfortable holding your device stable and moving smoothly. Invest in a tripod or some other device to help keep the video nice and stable. Please.

I have tried and tested a huge amount of equipment, tech and services and have found the right setup for me and our others. Let us know, we may be encouraged to get a little nerdy and share more on this another time...

Who should Go Live?

Sounds simple enough, but it's important the person in front of the camera or talking from behind is ready, comfortable, knowledgable and capable of communicating to an audience. You will be surprised how many people freeze, stumble or simply forget everything once they go live. Try it out by recording a video and shake off any nerves about talking to the camera and going online.

Prepare to Go Live!

It really is all in the prep. Their are certain types of live broadcasts that you can prepre immensely for, and you always should. Have a script outline to keep you on track, additional media or resources to share with audience and an understanding of how you will handle any issues or engagements (positive and negative). This will emsure the nerves are low and the value of the broadcast to your audience is high!


Other broadcasts can be somewhat sponteneous. If this fits you, just make sure you have covered items 1, 2 and 3 above and you'll do great!

If you need some help with live streaming either practically or with a little training, please get in touch.

What is Social Media & Digital Marketing?

What is Social Media & Digital Marketing?

Digital Marketing, two little words that encompass a pretty huge, intimidating world of channels, connected things and acronyms. It's display advertising, ppc, social media, market automation, SEO, adwords, email, content marketing, retargeting, story telling, programmatic, ... It's simple, right?

Make no mistake, Digital Marketing is the biggest disruption in media since the printing press. It's a cataclysmic change in action, method and the return of your communication and marketing activities. It's sounding scary again, right?

Okay, think of it like this - Digital Marketing is the blend of good old fashioned marketing objectives mixed with the impact and capability of modern technogy.

It's about reaching people who have an interest in who you are or what you are doing - Brand.

It's about sharing information (content, stories), to people who want to hear it - Marketing.

It's about efficiently converting awareness, interest and advocacy into a commercial activity - Sales.

Today, Digital Marketing enables you to reach your customers and clients where they are, instantly. On their computer, in their email, on social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even whilst in their pockets.

You can learn what matters to them, what works for them and share content (your products, team, insight, usp, ...) that they want to receive, where they want to receive it, in a manner that matter to them. This can be a single person to 1,000's of clients and prospects. A lot of the time with proper preparation this can even be automated.

Digital Marketing - Two little words that encompass the future of your marketing activities.

So, would you like to learn more or even get started? Reach out with any questions you have or we can arrange a chat on how I can support your organsiations step over the line into the powerful world of Digital Marketing.