Krypt3ia

(Greek: κρυπτεία / krupteía, from κρυπτός / kruptós, “hidden, secret things”)

Cambridge Analytica And Psychographics Versus Facebook Algorithms and Targeting

with 3 comments

Last week I came across some tasty data out on the net concerning the clients that Cambridge Analytica had been serving in the last election cycle other than Trump. Within that data dump I also came across some python scripts for harvesting data on Twitter as well from a developer at CA which ties them also to mining and using potentially, Twitter as well as Facebook to create pscyhographic profiles and to target those people out there who had the same sentiments and desires around electing Trump as president. What I found in looking at the data and doing some research has brought me to the notion that Analytica’s part in this whole thing was just one sliver of a larger whole. That together with the Russian active measures campaigns, disinformation, propaganda, and echo chamber incitement thereof, Analytica helped target some of the people that Russia needed to target as well as the Trump campaign itself.

In fact, after really digging in here, it has become clear to me that Facebook may have a larger part of the problem with their algorithms that commoditize their user base and allowed for weaponizing of that data to be used in the propaganda campaigns by the Trump campaign and the GRU’s operations. Cambridge Analytica is not the big bad here in essence but a part of a larger whole that the news media seems to be unable to grok because it is not as sexy as having a new Bond style villain to get clicks on. No, the larger and more subtle story here is that the people were manipulated by the Mercer’s, the Bannon’s and the GRU using the tools given to them by Facebook and Facebook as well as the media, to synergize the propaganda with the help of all that information the people have chosen (wittingly or otherwise) to give up by using these platforms.

While the truth keeps coming out in drips and drabs on Cambridge Analytica, one has to also take note of the Channel 4 undercover video’s as well where CA’s Alexander Nix offers up age old kompromat style operations to their would be client. This all likely is second nature to the SCL group, the company that is tied to the MOD and DOD as offering tools for propaganda and manipulation in the past and of which CA is a spin-off company. Once you understand this, then you can see how Nix might just be offering things off of the menu from SCL and happily so to make a sale here.

What Nix is offering though might in fact be the modus operandi for the “whole package” in the case of political manipulation. Think about it, you target the people you want to vote, you then set up the opponent with kompromat and then you leak that judiciously. It would destroy the candidate and prop up their opponent pretty well don’t you think? Overall, what you have to realize here is that Cambridge Analytica was selling itself not just as an analytics company with a side of advertising for political campaigns, but instead a one stop shop in black propaganda and dirty tricks using analytics and psychology to target the voter. Of course now you have to ask yourselves just how effective CA’s pscyhographics and operations really were, how they may have learned from past experience, and what may have been their pivot from just analytics and psychology to propaganda and dirty tricks to pay the bills. First though, let’s look at the data I found and run through some of the premises that CA puts forth to see where fact meets Phrenology.

The Data:

I was Google dorking around the other day and came across someone’s git repo that had an Excel sheet in it concerning Cambridge Analytica’s clients in 2016. When I opened this up I was amazed to see just who else was using CA’s psychometrics for their campaigns other than Trump. What I saw was that Ben Carson, John Bolton, Ted Cruz, and a host of other orgs had been using CA’s offerings as far back as 2014, in the case of Bolton’s super PAC. Carson and Cruz both had limited dalliances with CA but Trump spent considerably on Analytica in 2016. In fact you can see from the sheet, the campaign slogans or catch phrases that they tried too, using them as code names for projects.

All of this data was obtained through the fec.gov website where they have to give up the information as part of the law. So no secrets here really but interesting information to be gleaned on who was using CA’s services and just how long this has been going on. In the case of John Bolton, you can see that he was attempting to use CA to further the candidacy of someone he was supporting back in 2014. In total, the sum for all this work shown here is over four million dollars between all the campaigns and entities.

Notice though, no charges for Ukrainian hookers and blow for kompromat though. *snerk*

Of note as well are the ancillary campaign strategies or slogans that they had for Trump before they came up with the MAGA (Make America Great Again) claptrap, a slogan though that for those of a certain mind, worked wonders for Trump and his particular brand of populism no? You had “Make America Number 1” which is just not as catchy as “Make America GREAT Again” which they refined from the number one phrase. Of course the whole mode here is to say that America is no longer ‘great’ and it can only be made ‘great’ again by Trump. This is a clever little psychological trick in that it pastes everyone else as part of the pool of people that made America lose it’s greatness and is a phrase that those of a mind, can latch onto as a dog whistle.

While I was dorking, I also located a bunch of FARA statements that SCL-Social filled out and gee, who was funneling money to CA to work as a foreign agent? Why Dubai and the UAE of course! You can see the FARA statements made by Andreae and Associates (a political intelligence and risk group in the US) that is working for SCL-Social, a sub division of SCL-Group, and parent to Cambridge Analytica. What a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive… Or at last manipulate.

Anyway, there is a lot out there and you can play the home game here.

As a side note, if you look at the original filings on the FEC site you can see more information on the who and the what and the how. In one case I have looked at so far, the LLC that was created to spend the money on “Make America Number 1” is called “GLITTERING STEEL” which to me sounds like one of those derpy names given to APT actors or bad spy novels. Well, once you Google that name though you can see even more about this, that it was a Bannon run entity and that there is at least one law suit pending over their illegal actions in California.

This shit is deep folks… Like “deep state” deep. Anyway, I will continue Googling but you can too! Let me know if you find good stuff out there that maybe I can further write about.

Python Scripts:

While I was Googling up that spreadsheet, I also came across some .py scripts that were on a github for a Michael Phillips, who works for Cambridge Analytica. His creations were for harvesting data from Twitter and pulled geolocation data in one and sentiments in the other. In his geolocation script he was looking to pull addresses with accurate lat and long too! Now, you and I know that Twitter allows this kind of thing and others like me have used different tools to pull OSINT on characters like da’eshbags and the like over the years. It is of note though, that Twitter has to my knowledge, not been mentioned that much with regard to targeting and psychometrics mining by CA in the press. So, this is interesting and makes me wonder if perhaps CA has had more inside access to other features of Twitter as well?

Twitter is notoriously not that helpful to the government and others so I have to wonder if access was given was it bought? What kind of data would Twitter have sold? What do we really know here? Do we know anything about this? Anyone have any insight here for me? I for one would like to know if Twitter was working with CA and to what extent if any they where. This becomes really important just like access to Facebook data because Twitter was the second tool du jour that the GRU used to sow all the chaos and push the propaganda in the 2016 election cycle as well as in other areas such as Brexit and other attacks on Ukraine and the like.

But I digress… Let’s look at the real value of Cambridge Analytica’s potential versus the tools afforded by the likes of Twitter and Facebook themselves.

Psychographics Versus Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences:

A lot of the news cycle has been taken up with Analytica of late but what are they offering and just how effective could psyhcometric profiles be of users on Facebook? CA claims to have the ability to target people by the OCEAN profiling system of analytics. This is how they managed to make an application that then stole others data in the form of a personality test that they leveraged on Facebook. While this testing can lead to some valuable information, it is not as accurate or the right tool in my book to micro target a voter as opposed to someone buying something that they like or want. While this was the bread and butter of CA’s claims the reality is that this tool is not enough to hone in on people that well to be a real factor in electing Donald Trump and you all have to realize this.

What’s more, if you look at the toolbox of Facebook alone, they have some algorithms and applications alone that could have been a major factor in Trumps win. The primary two tools are ‘Custom Audiences‘ and ‘Lookalike Audiences‘ which Facebook uses to target people for advertising and the like. Both of these tools take outside data, in the case of this last election cycle that data would be voter rolls. Uploading those rolls (which you can access) you then are targeting your audience to push feeds to. In the case of Trump, then you are using the Republican rolls and targeting en mas your message to them. Now, consider this, those same rolls were used by the GRU to push content to those feeds as well. That’s right, ad buys by the GRU, remember all the talk about that in the news?

Ok so where does that leave us? Well, with CA and Facebook, you could be targeting those people who are outside the rolls and magnifying your efforts with the likes and the comments by stealing the 50 million people’s data as well. This basically becomes an amplification attack kinda like a DoS if you think about it. In the scheme of things it seems CA was just another cog but when you look at it all as a whole you have to ask yourselves these questions;

1) Was CA able to target more people outside the norm?

2) Was CA then able to take ancillary data (other people’s) that also had the same “sentiments” as their core psychometric profile because they were friends of those core friendly users?

3) Was this data then given to the Russians either by insiders at CA or by the Trump campaign itself to help target users and spread the propaganda and active measures to greater effect?

These are the questions the Senate and House should be asking and I am sure that these are Questions the FBI and the Mueller probe are asking. Also, one should consider this more macro targeting than micro but meh, either way it seems that Facebook has a larger share of the blame that they certainly don’t want to take. This is especially true now that they have lost so much value on the stock market as well as losing clients like Space-X and Tesla recently in a backlash that continues.

 

Was, and Is Cambridge Analytica an Arm of SCL’s Propaganda and Psyops Operations?:

This leaves us at the point where Alexander Nix and his compatriot are seen on hidden video offering kompromat style operations as well as targeted psychographics. If you start looking into SCL, it’s mother org, you can see that they have a history of this kind of black propaganda offerings for the military and governments of the world. It would not be a stretch to see CA using SCL to do some dirty work if not doing it in house so to speak. So when Nix was caught on camera and later made some excuses that he was just “going with what the client wanted” I feel that this is closer to what he wanted to offer because it made money as opposed to the straight analytics package CA offers. Perhaps even more so, Nix knew that analytics was just not enough and that psychographics should really only be used in micro targeted ads for shoes.

If the targeting works, and psychometrics/psychographics do up to a point, then they can be a part of a larger package of tools to target a macro audience with micro tools. I think we have seen, and I have pointed out above that this is likely to work better as a larger package of many tools and operations to influence an audience but it is not the make all be all. I think they discovered that and went back to the old ways to make money with SCL’s cache and tools that have been in use for many years with great effect. Where the rubber meets the road in the 2016 election is that the Russians then possibly leveraged SCL and CA with or without their knowledge to even greater effect and that is what led us to where we are today.

How that actually happened is something for the investigators at the special counsel to tell us later on.

SCL’s Domains:

While I am on the subject of SCL and looking at future possibilities, I looked up everything that SCL owns domain wise. There are many domains that they own and we should keep an eye out for them in future being spun up. In fact, I kind of wonder if they have other domains hidden under other LLC’s etc that we have not seen that may have been part and party to some of the 2016 psyops and propaganda operations on behalf of the Trump campaign. Looking at these domains they have many plans and we should all be paying attention.

Domain Name Create Date Registrar
behaviouralanalytics.io 2016-09-17 GANDI SAS
behaviouralanalytics.org 2016-08-13 GANDI SAS
ca-affiliates.com 2017-08-23 GANDI SAS
ca-commercial.com 2017-04-07 GANDI SAS
ca-commercial.org 2015-05-06 GODADDY.COM, LLC
ca-commerical.com 2017-01-27 GANDI SAS
ca-commerical.net 2017-01-27 GANDI
ca-commerical.org 2017-01-27 GANDI
ca-commerical.us 2017-01-27 GANDI
ca-connect.net 2015-05-22 GANDI
ca-political.net 2017-01-27 GANDI SAS
ca-political.org 2015-05-06 GANDI SAS
ca-research.org 2015-05-06 GODADDY.COM, LLC
ca-worldwide.com 2017-08-25 GANDI SAS
cacommerical.com 2017-01-27 GANDI
cacommerical.org 2017-01-27 GANDI
caconnect.net 2015-05-22 GANDI SAS
caconnect.org 2015-05-22 Gandi SAS
cambridgeanalytica.co.uk 2015-07-08 GANDI [TAG = GANDI]
cambridgeanalytica.net 2015-04-21 GANDI SAS
cambridgeanalytica.org 2014-04-01 Gandi SAS
cambridgeanalytica.org.uk 2015-07-08 GANDI [TAG = GANDI]
cambridgeanalytica.tv 2015-10-22
cambridgeanalytica.uk 2015-07-08 GANDI [TAG = GANDI]
cambridgeanalyticaresearch.com 2014-12-31 GODADDY.COM, LLC
capolitical.co.uk 2015-07-08 GANDI [TAG = GANDI]
capolitical.net 2017-01-27 GANDI SAS
capolitical.org 2017-01-27 GANDI
capolitical.org.uk 2015-07-08 GANDI [TAG = GANDI]
capolitical.party 2017-01-27 GANDI SAS
capolitical.tech 2017-01-27
capolitical.uk 2015-07-08 GANDI [TAG = GANDI]
capolitical.us 2017-01-27 GANDI SAS
carchargeruk.co.uk 2017-02-16
daymate.com 2001-05-31 TIERRANET INC. DBA DOMAINDISCOVER
dclisten.com 2015-03-09 GANDI SAS
floridaediblesandextracts.com 2017-07-22 GODADDY.COM, LLC
free2teach.net 2009-05-22 TUCOWS, INC
ripon.global 2015-01-21 GANDI SAS
ripon.us 2014-08-13 GANDI SAS
riponplatform.com 2014-04-07 GANDI SAS
scl-connect.com 2014-12-11 GANDI SAS
scl.cc 2004-09-16 SCHLUND.DE
scl.group 2016-06-15 GANDI SAS
sclbehavioural.com 2010-05-27 GANDI
sclcommercial.co.uk 2015-06-21 GANDI [TAG = GANDI]
sclcommercial.com 2010-03-15 GANDI SAS
sclcommercial.uk 2015-06-21
sclconnect.cc 2014-12-11 GO DADDY SOFTWARE INC
sclcorporate.cc 2014-01-02 GO DADDY SOFTWARE INC

 

Domain Name Create Date Registrar
sclcorporate.com 2014-01-02 GANDI
scldata.co.uk 2015-06-20 GANDI [TAG = GANDI]
scldata.org 2014-04-07 GANDI SAS
scldata.org.uk 2015-06-20 GANDI [TAG = GANDI]
scldata.uk 2015-06-20 GANDI [TAG = GANDI]
scldefence.cc 2014-01-02 GO DADDY SOFTWARE INC
scldefence.com 2010-03-15 GANDI SAS
scldefense.com 2010-03-15 GANDI SAS
scldigital.com 2015-01-16 GO DADDY SOFTWARE INC
sclelections.cc 2008-08-04 GO DADDY SOFTWARE INC
sclelections.co.uk 2015-06-21 GANDI [TAG = GANDI]
sclelections.com 2008-08-04 GANDI SAS
sclelections.net 2015-07-07 GANDI SAS
sclelections.org 2008-08-04 GANDI SAS
sclelections.org.uk 2015-07-07 GANDI [TAG = GANDI]
sclelections.uk 2015-06-21
sclgroup.cc 2013-08-29 GO DADDY SOFTWARE INC
sclgroup.net 2016-05-02 GANDI
sclgroup.org 2016-05-04 GANDI SAS
sclgroup.org.uk 2015-06-21 GANDI [TAG = GANDI]
sclsocial.cc 2014-01-02 GO DADDY SOFTWARE INC
sclsocial.com 2010-03-15 GANDI SAS
sclsocial.net 2015-07-07 GANDI SAS
sclsocial.org.uk 2015-07-07 GANDI [TAG = GANDI]
sclstrategy.com 2012-11-14 GANDI
scluk.cc 2014-01-02 GO DADDY SOFTWARE INC
sclworldwide.cc 2014-01-02 GO DADDY SOFTWARE INC
solventlessextracts.net 2017-07-22 GODADDY.COM, LLC
thesclgroup.com 2016-04-25 GODADDY.COM, LLC
thetealgroup.org 2015-09-21 GODADDY.COM, LLC

 

Conclusions:

So here are my conclusions looking at all of this stuff. First off, CA is not the big bad here but Facebook and maybe Twitter are. Ask yourselves and ask them just how much data they sold or gave access to other entities in the 2016 election cycle. Who were they? Were they connected to CA? SCL? GRU? Also be asking yourselves just how much do you want Facebook to have of your privacy? In posts recently I have seen people saying that phone calls and other private data were in the data dumps they downloaded. How did that data all get into their hands? Well, you let it happen! If you have Facebook on your phone, well, then they have everything and unless you read the fine print, you are boned.

Secondly, I for one believe that Facebook and Twitter and other social media entities sold data to GRU cutouts and they should be taking more responsibility henceforth. I know that Facebook has made efforts to control ad buys and such but really, they hold the keys and unless they vet every application and client, well, it could happen easily again. Zuck needs to grow up and stop the fuckery. His platform is now a weapon and our privacy is the ammunition. I also think that everyone should consider leaving the platform because they hold too much of your data that can be abused. Until such a time as they take this seriously I would not invest the time on them.

Thirdly, I have to wonder just how much information was being passed between CA and Trump/Bannon/etc that made it to the GRU. There are more than a few Russians in the CA constellation that could have been leveraged by the Russians but until some thorough investigation is done it is hard to tell what happened here and at what scale. I do find it interesting though that at least the Facebook data and tools were leveraged and wonder how much was direct buy from GRU cutouts as opposed to passed on perhaps by assets within the Trump campaign itself.

Time will tell but in the meantime here is some data for you all to Mueller.

K.

Written by Krypt3ia

2018/03/25 at 15:00

Posted in .gov, Propaganda, PsyOPS

3 Responses

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  1. I really enjoy your writing/research, getting it my inbox and sharing it often so am quite puzzled why you have me blocked on Twitter. I’m not asking that you unblock me because that’s your decision, just wondering why.

    Marla Hughes

    2018/03/26 at 00:32

  2. As far as I can tell, the difference between Twitter and Facebook is that Twitter allows anyone to access individual tweet metadata while Facebook does not. This includes geolocation data and the like.

    What you ~have~ to pay for on Twitter is 1) access to their firehose (and firehose-like products: the free tier of non-filtered data collection limits to something like 1 percent of public tweets) and 2) their own analytics products (and, of course, advertising).

    At the end of the day, the public perception issue with Facebook was lax controls: I don’t think anyone would’ve batted an eye if CA had simply bought the data.

    Hector T

    2018/03/26 at 13:17

  3. Right, as I mentioned in the piece. The question I have is did Analytica pay for more access than just what they were using in those .py’s

    Krypt3ia

    2018/03/26 at 13:20


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