The Collective Effect

Two very interesting closing comments at the end of the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie’s appearance before the digital, culture, media and sport committee in the House of Commons.

  1. People in charge of investigating and regulating data need to understand how relational databases, machine leaning etc. work. At present, they don’t! (Christopher Wylie)
  2. There’s been too much focus on the individual level of psychological profiling. It’s not about using psychographics to influence how individuals vote, it’s about a “collective effect,” like the spreading of rumours. They are easier to generate. The impulse to share information. Only Facebook can look into that! But they seem to have a blind spot on it (Paul-Olivier Dehaye).

About Virality

Tony D. Sampson is Reader in Digital Culture and Communications at the University of East London. He has a PhD in social-cultural-digital contagion theory from the Sociology Department at the University of Essex. He is a former art student who re-entered higher education in the UK as a mature student in the mid-1990s after a long stint as a gigging musician. His career in education has moved through various disciplines and departments, including a maths and computing faculty, sociology department and school of digital media and design His publications include The Spam Book, coedited with Jussi Parikka (Hampton Press, 2009), Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks (University of Minnesota Press, 2012), The Assemblage Brain: Sense Making in Neuroculture (University of Minnesota Press, 2016), Affect and Social Media (Rowman and Littlefield, July 2018) and The Sleepwalker's Guide to Social Media (due 2020 with Polity Press). Tony is the organizer and host of the Affect and Social Media conferences in the UK (see archive on this blog). As a co-founder and co-director of the public engagement initiatives, Club Critical Theory (CCT) and the Cultural Engine Research Group (CERG), Tony has been project lead on a number of funded projects that bring impactful critical theories into the community and local political sphere to approach. These activities have included large conferences, symposia and informal lectures/workshops in pubs and community centres, co-organized with community groups and local authorities. Tony occasionally blogs at: https://viralcontagion.wordpress.com/ Full academic profile: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Staff/s/tony-sampson
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