A glimpse into the terrifying world of social media manipulation
As another Facebook-related controversy is circulating the news again for all the wrong reasons, this is a great documentary that reminds us to be cautious about using social media platforms
A long shot zooms in on the face of Brittany Kaiser, a former Cambridge Analytica executive, as she writes Cambridge Analytica on a fence and ties a string - that has a whistle on its end - above it. The scene fades to black.
This is the opening scene of the Netflix documentary 'The Great Hack', which is based on the infamous Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
As another Facebook-related controversy is circulating the news again for all the wrong reasons, this is a great documentary that reminds us to be cautious about using social media platforms.
Directed by Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, the documentary explores how fake news can change the outcomes of important events such as elections and political campaigns, which have a great impact on politics and businesses globally.
The film features professor David Carroll, Brittany Kaiser and British investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr. All of them work on data literacy and advocate for data rights.
The trio tries to explain and expose the works of Cambridge Analytica under the political environment of various countries, including the UK's Brexit campaign and the 2016 US elections.
Through archival footage, court testimonies, analyses, interviews and animations, the documentary reminds us how personal data has become an outlet to make profits and run propaganda on social media platforms.
The investigative documentary also explains topics such as data mining. It shows how voters become a target audience and how personal data became a target for advertising campaigns.
The film also focuses on the rise and fall of Cambridge Analytica. The company claimed to have 5,000 data points on every American voter during the 2016 American elections, mostly taken from Facebook.
This data was utilized by the Ted Cruz campaign and then, after Trump won the Republican nomination, it was funnelled into the Trump campaign. The company used the same tactics during Brexit.
Mark Zuckerberg, the chairman and CEO of Facebook, is not new to controversies and being accused of selling the data of millions of Facebook users for his own profit. He had sold data to Cambridge Analytica, which was a huge privacy invasion.
'The Great Hack' received Emmy nominations for the category of 'Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction' and received several awards for its graphical work and animation.
The two hour and 19-minutes-long documentary is worth watching to get an idea about how data mining works, how to stay away from fake news and most importantly, how to be responsible while sharing personal data on social media.