An area that needs specific awareness is the weaponizing of our inferred interests from social media. People are generally aware when they search for something on google, the next bunch of ads you see will be related to that item. Over time and through the use of social media things have started to evolve. By collecting the data from what you post ads can be more specifically targeted. This evolved even further to using social media to expand a platform and consume the user. While we agree to give up our data by agreeing to the terms of service, we also agree that it is their’s to sell. The problem of course is when people or countries use this information and weaponize it against the citizens.
From a young age I was told that whatever I post on the internet is there forever. I understood the base concept that the only one in control of my privacy is myself. Social media corporations can’t have your information if you don’t post it. I don’t think some people realize this and I feel that web browsers should at least gently remind people that electronic communications are not as secure as your brain. Even when I had first heard about Cambridge Analytica using Facebook Data in 2017, I had very little interest because I knew they were giving out my data and I had heard Obama had used it so I knew that Trump wouldn’t be in trouble for it. What I had failed to realize that it was more than just raw data, it was a psychological assessment. The first linked article shows how ads are targeted to a person to warrant a certain reaction. For in the case of Trump, he could target a person who is deemed to be pro 2A with ads that say that Hillary is going to repeal the 2nd Amendment.
What kicked things up a notch for me mentally was this article by the New Yorker which went into PsyGroup. In short, what originally started as an attempt to target ISIS members, has turned into a political tool to herd users into echo chambers. They manipulate off subtle influences into trick a person into believing something that may not be true. In the case of terrorism I can understand this, but it has warped from the original Counter-Terrorism usage and is for sale. This isn’t meant to focus on companies Trump used either, it is used by everyone nowadays.
Having people for hire who pose as avatars is a game changer in the marketing world. The use of bots and paid employees to push propaganda is out in full force. Once a person is herded into an echo chamber, it is hard for them to recognize the reality outside of the chamber. Once figuring out how the system works, it became easier to recognize other forms of this across the marketing spectrum.
One of the best people at understanding how to use social media to sell a product is Taylor Swift. She has been heralded as a marketing genius for her roundabout marketing methods in order maintain a strong fan base and continue to shatter records. She just recently released a new song, but before that she had a 13 day countdown clock in all major cities to build interest. Next she released a song with Brandon Urie from Panic! at the Disco (who completely sold out btw.) While I am sleuthing for Spygate facts, there are thousands of Taylor Swift fans which are looking for little Easter Eggs thrown in her social media posts, music videos, and lyrics. This creates a constant level of engagement and keeps her unbrand in the minds of her fans for longer than just listening to the music. She recently set a record for most YouTube views in 24 hours by telling her fans that there are secret clues hidden in the video. Simple, but extremely effective. She also has a revolving limited edition merchandise sale which invokes the fear of missing out reaction. In order to counter this, randomly some fans will receive a special letter which can make them want to buy more just for the gratification. I can’t fault this because it is just marketing, but it shows how subtle advertising has become.
When you start to see how a foreign entity can seemingly use these techniques to influence an election, you can see how Spygate can be a big deal. It is not about the accusations of what Trump did during the election. He was marketing himself. I am sure Hillary was using the same techniques with Media Matters. They were marketing themselves to the American people. If Russia was using the social media manipulation or another foreign adversary to sow discord into America, it was extremely effective. I think we forget how much of a challenge it has been over the last few years to get back to the zero point. The antics against Trump have gotten past the point of ridiculous that I wonder how much of this is kabuki from the Democratic side. I was recently corrected on Twitter on if the country is in better shape than from when Trump first took office. I started looking around and the results seem to indicate that it is.
With the Justice Department wrapping up global money laundering, it seems that there is less crime overall. After Charlottesville, it just seems that the US kind of calmed down. It was also pointed out to me that there are less Trump Deranged individuals calling Carter Page an idiot on his posts. In the 2017 V2 post, I think a lot of that has to do with the US being able to control the narrative again. It is just odd how everything has transpired over the last few years. Are we are becoming more independent minded or getting back to being herded? The good news is that the more awareness that is brought to these persuasion techniques, the less effective they become.
What is interesting though is when you realize that this is bigger than governments targeting citizens. It is actually governments targeting governments. If you remember, on February 13, 2019, Monica Witt was indicted for espionage. When reading this indictment, not only did the Iranian hackers do what Russia is accused of doing in the election, they also used the PsyGroup strategy. They used malware to intrude and they also interacted with colleagues to gain information on them. How many people in our government have had this done to them? How many are still ongoing? How high does it go?
Could the alleged Russian Election Interference not be directed towards the American People, but at the upper levels of government? Recently a lot of talk has been stirring about the Renteria Memo. This alleged fake document almost made Former FBI Director James Comey appoint a special council for the Clinton Email Investigation. We know the Dossier was Russian sourced. We know that Russia Today invited General Flynn to Moscow. We know that Russia was also paying Fusion GPS. What we don’t know though is who was the guiding hand throughout the whole thing.
There is one little hint out there that may wind up being the smoking gun. Crossfire Hurricane was started from a tip from Alexander Downer. Alexander Downer was also on the board of Huawei Australia. This was also during a time when Australia and New Zealand were under extreme Chinese influence. Those two countries are Five Eyes along with Britain, Canada, and the US. Surprisingly, Australia and New Zealand are leading the charge against Huawei. Could China be the guiding hand?
Sort of makes you wonder what the real motive behind the Iran Deal was?