Datastyret Kommunikation: Cambridge Analytica

Frederik Lynglund Poulsen, Joachim Ingemann Bentsen, Emil Just Bluhme Jensen, Jonas Høst Høvelskov & Tobias Hardis Bohr

Studenteropgave: Basisprojekt


This paper examines propaganda and the work methods of Cambridge Analytica mostly during the Trump campaign in 2016. Through different methods including analysis of technology and theory we would like to conclude whether Cambridge Analyticas methods belong in the propaganda category.
Garth Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell defines propaganda as being a subgenre of persuasion and information. The purpose of propaganda is to change people’s opinions and behavior through systematic attempts which in the end furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.
According to Jowett and O’Donnell propaganda usually deals with methods which include as many people as possible at once. E.g. a poster which a lot of people come across and can relate to. Propaganda therefore depends on technology to develop their platforms and the development of technology goes hand in hand with the development of propaganda.
Nowadays technology makes it possible for the propagandist to gather personal data on almost every single person on the planet. Propaganda therefore nowadays include targeting the single individual to effectively change the behavior and opinions of different societies. Computational propaganda is a term which, amongst other things, describe the use of social media bulletins and commercials specifically produced for individual social media profiles.
We analyze machine learning as a technology and the book written by Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie to define Cambridge Analytica’s methods.
We conclude that Cambridge Analytica’s methods during the Trump campaign can be defined as propaganda. Their methods have both similarities and differences from Jowett’s and O’Donnell’s propaganda definition and computational propaganda. We also conclude that their work on the presidential campaign can be defined as propaganda because of the similarities between their methods and the propaganda definitions we chose to include.
After further perspectivation we also conclude that computational propaganda and Cambridge Analytica’s methods can influence democracy as we know it today. It can become a problem when people don’t know that they are being influenced and therefore can’t control their own behavior and opinions.

UddannelserBasis - Humanistisk-Teknologisk Bacheloruddannelse, (Bachelor uddannelse) Bachelor
Udgivelsesdato16 dec. 2019
Antal sider52
VejledereEmil Eiby Seidenfaden