Chris Wylie — the pink-haired data whiz whose mining skills are said to have helped Donald Trump win the White House — was hired, then fired, by the Trudeau Liberals in 2016.
He was paid $100,000 to help launch a short-lived Facebook pilot just after the sunny ways government took power. It didn’t last. And it’s not known what exactly he did.
But it raises plenty of questions about what data the party did use. Or what tips Mr. Wylie gave them to enhance their already skilled data-collection practices.
While the pink-haired data miner is now getting all the attention, I’m told by several political insiders the practice of data mining is nothing new. Not for the Liberals or any political party these days.
Yes, apparently, we have been politically manipulated and breached of our personal information for some time.
Facebook was the launchpad for everything Trudeau. The Platform. The campaign. The events. The propaganda. It was all on display to be pushed out through carefully orchestrated algorithms to targeted zones.
As political writer Susan Delacourt reports, in the 2015 election, the party reached more than 13-million voters using Facebook who got their call to action.
No longer did the party need mainstream commercials. Facebook allowed team Trudeau to target specific audiences by learning voters’ personal behaviours. And just like that, they’d get blasted with Liberal-friendly ads.
They aren’t the only party to take advantage of Facebook’s reach, but they are the best at data collection and using it to their advantage. And up until this scandal, the Liberals were quite proud of it.
But now that Facebook has been caught looking the other way so political operatives can abuse the treasure chest of data – it will be tough for the prime minister to convince anyone he’s actually serious about his threat to Facebook that it clean up its “fake news.”
After all, PM Trudeau has been served very well by it while politicos will spin that this is how politics is done in the age of technology. We are allowing big data to undermine our own democracy.
While we willingly put our lives on digital display, it is now being used without our knowledge to manipulate us for political gain.
It’s a social media science experiment that reaches far and wide — a secret world of networks for the rich and powerful. And if the Trudeau Liberals are reaching into your private world for their gain — you can bet others are too.
Alex Pierson is the host of ON Point with Alex Pierson on Global News Radio 640 Toronto, 900 CHML and 980 CFPL.