Icelandic Political Psychologist Downplays Cambridge Analytica Scandal - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Icelandic Political Psychologist Downplays Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Published March 22, 2018

Photos by
Timothée Lambrecq

Contradicting even what Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has said about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, an Icelandic political psychologist contends that there is “nothing new” in the story of how Cambridge Analytica mined personal information to help Donald Trump become president.

News of how Cambridge Analytica used an “online personality test” to mine the data of not only those who took the test but also their Facebook friends, compromising the privacy of about 50 million people, which was in turn used to help Donald Trump secure the presidency, has been awash across the international news.

However, political psychologist Hulda Þórisdóttir told RÚV that there is “nothing new” about Cambridge Analytica’s practices. She contends that there is seldom any connection between one’s personality and their political opinions, and therefore the data could not have been used for this purpose.

This contention appears to contradict the most recent research on the subject of personality and politics, and the assertion that there was “nothing new” going on here also contradicts what Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has said on the subject.

Zuckerberg has given a timeline of events regarding Cambridge Analytica, describing it as an anomalous event that is definitely not par for the course. He describes Cambridge Analytica’s operations as being far more intrusive into the personal details of Facebook users than any other app uploaded to the site, prompting a tightening of security at the social media company. He has apologised for allowing the breach to happen, and asserts that the company is taking pro-active steps to rectify the situation and keep it from happening again.

Cambridge Analytica’s misbehaviour does not end there, either. They have offered hacked emails of political opponents to politicians in numerous countries, such as Nigeria and St Kitts, and a hidden cam video made by Channel 4 has shown Cambridge Analytica workers bragging about using sex workers and blackmail to entrap rival political opponents.

Advania Ísland, a data analysis company, in fact invited Cambridge Analytica director Alexander Nix to Iceland last September, to take part in a lecture where he was talk about how data collection and mining influences business and politics. This has raised questions regarding whether Cambridge Analytica or their associates have had any involvement with Icelandic politics.


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