This story begins like many stories about revolutions. Great ideas about freedom, equality end with gallows, guillotines or fields of death. I did not expect that this also applies to the Internet. Here, too, it started with slogans about equal access to knowledge and unrestricted communication - and in the 1990s it actually did.
Later on, social networking sites appeared and a promise of quick gratification, a reward in the form of a "lair" for what we are and what we do. Another important idea came with the Internet - a world for free. Few people have wondered, and unfortunately few still realize that in this Internet for free we are the real commodity. The commodity, or rather white laboratory mice, on which sociologists, data experts and various self-styled social engineers carry out their experiments.
I supposedly already knew all this, but no one made me aware of the scale of this procedure more than Christopher Wylie in his book "Mindf*ck". Wylie is one of the founders and chief analysts of Cambridge Analytica. In my opinion, this company is behind one of the greatest conspiracies in modern history to destroy democracy and democratic society.
In his book, Wylie not only describes his career - from high school, through involvement in political activities and cooperation in liberal parties, then moving to London and working for SCL Group, which, in the name of huge profits, carried out various dark assignments for all sorts of despots from different parts of the world, to Cambridge Analytica itself. She also presents the backstage of the conspiracy, which was born in the SCL Group. It was SCL Group that was the mother of Cambridge Analytica, and its father was none other than Steve Banon, one of the extreme and alternative right-wing ideologists in the USA.
The very history of Wylie's career is surprising. It shows how easy it is for liberal young people to be hallucinated and involved in a conspiracy to destroy democracy by skillfully radicalizing society under slogans that the Nazis would often not be ashamed of, and consequently influencing not only their choices. Interestingly, Wylie points out that this process did not start on the right side of the political scene. The precursor of using big data in profiling the message to voters was the team behind Barack Obama during his first presidential campaign. Wylie's story poses many questions to the reader, one of them being whether the goal sanctifies the means and whether the use of voter profiling is acceptable if applied in good faith.
The perphesiveness of the conspiracy discovered by Wylie lies in the fact that it was largely based on fuelling hatred and anger through the use of already existing false conspiracy theories: from vaccines, 5G to refugees, ethnic and religious minorities. The consequences are tragic, and it is not just about this or that election - and Wylie repeatedly claims that both the Brexit referendum and the US presidential elections were held in gross violation of the law and were manipulated - it is also about the genocide of, among others, the Rohing people in Burma.
What is particularly disgusting about the procedure described by Wylli is the painful way the old Roman maxim was followed - money does not stink. It does not stink not only for companies such as SCL Group, but especially for Internet service providers, especially Facebook, with whose permission and with the help of its algorithms the whole conspiracy could be created. It is Facebook that has been and still is an environment of continuous work of social engineers who try to manage social groups in one way or another. Wylie mentions that for social networking sites, it does not matter, or at least until recently, what their users are involved in, it is important that they get involved, click, "lay", comment and spill their anger. Anger is good for social networking sites, it makes the user spend more time in front of the screen, reads more and clicks more often. Few people care that often it is not just a key click in a computer mouse, but a click of a trigger in a rifle. It is also horrifying that although the whole conspiracy has come to light, it was successful and its authors did not suffer any consequences.
However, Wylie's book brings hope. The author does not leave the reader only with knowledge about what happened and how bad it is. He also presents his ideas on how to heal the Internet, especially social networking sites. Today we use them without any guarantee of security and privacy. In his opinion, they should be treated, especially Facebook, which for many is synonymous with the Internet, such as buildings, roads or bridges, and therefore have the appropriate security and certificates and be regularly checked.
I recommend this book to everyone, especially those who have a Facebook account and look there at least once a day.