Inside Cambridge Analytica and the Digital Influence Industry
This is the website for Dr Briant's journalism and ongoing research on SCL, Cambridge Analytica and the rapidly developing and opaque global influence industry. Here you can learn about her upcoming book 'Propaganda Machine: Inside Cambridge Analytica and the Digital Influence Industry' and explore her related projects including her 'Interactive Cambridge Analytica Map' researched with the invaluable help of research assistant Ben Staton.
DR. EMMA L BRIANT
Dr Briant is an academic specialist in research on propaganda, influence and information warfare who was central in revealing the wrongdoing of SCL and Cambridge Analytica, contributing her expertise and evidence to investigations worldwide in 2018 and producing many journalistic articles. Information about her research, other books and publications, related media reporting and her involvement as senior researcher in The Great Hack are available from the links below and from her personal website.
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- COMING SOON -
This book is an explosive investigation of Cambridge Analytica and the digital influence industry - revealing the weaponization of our everyday online activities, and the grave threat to democracy posed by an industry that is still largely unaccountable for its crimes.
The internet was meant to facilitate communication and strengthen democracy worldwide. However, as propaganda scholar Dr. Emma L. Briant reveals, powerful actors harnessed the growth of social media, turning the dream of a free internet into a manipulative mass-surveillance nightmare. War on Terror–era legislation enabled a global influence industry to weaponize our digital world for the advancement of profit, power, and political influence.
In 2018, Cambridge Analytica and its unethical parent company SCL Group catapulted to international notoriety with far-reaching consequences. Their purchase of millions of Facebook users’ data around the world triggered the second scandal of Facebook’s complicity in monetizing personal data. Yet the story of Cambridge Analytica and SCL Group remains poorly understood. With early access to interviews—many conducted before the scandal—and exclusively obtained documents, Dr. Briant offers a groundbreaking investigation of both companies and how extensive data harvesting, black ops methods, psychographic techniques, voter suppression and fear-driven messaging were deployed everywhere from the Caribbean to the Middle East, to Africa and Eastern Europe, and to the U.S. and United Kingdom.
The actions of SCL and Cambridge Analytica affected millions globally, transforming public understanding of political and social life; still our governments fail to regulate this industry, threatening democracy itself. Propaganda Machine offers unprecedented insight into an age of digital surveillant propaganda, making an impassioned plea for policy-makers to protect democracy before it’s too late.
The Interactive Cambridge Analytica Map:
The Interactive CA Map collates and analyzes reporting of the scandal-ridden company Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) and their subsidiary Cambridge Analytica (CA), whose wrongdoing Dr Briant was central in exposing in 2018. It maps reported global reach (1989-2018), including clients and projects. It visualizes the expanding scale and spread of their activities over time and allows you to move back and forward in time exploring projects. You can also watch SCL and Cambridge Analytica spread 'live' across the world. Click on the Cambridge Analytica-buster icon to view the map or select it from the site menu.
The interactive map was made with the help of Research Assistant Ben Staton, and an excellent Data Scientist who produced the visualization pro-bono and who prefers not to be named but whom I wish to thank here. I also wish to acknowledge important early-stages assistance from 'Amy' and Lacey Strahm. Dr Briant wishes to thank Institute for New Economic Thinking who funded her fellowship at Bard College 2019-2020.
NEW: Massive Upcoming Documentary for 2020
Proud to have been involved in the making of an important upcoming documentary on Republican religious data harvesting for propaganda ahead of the 2020 election 'People You May Know'. I advised the filmmakers a little in the early stages regarding Cambridge Analytica and am credited as part of the team. The film makers Katharina Gellein Viken and Charles Kriel have done an incredible job investigating a live operation for this important public interest film.