{ “title”: “Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie testifies before Senate”, “date”: “2018-06-05”, “link”: “” }

Key Speakers

  • Grassley, Chairman - with his gravelly old voice
  • Feinstein, Ranking Member(?) - with her kindly grandmothering voice
  • Dr. Hirsch, First Witness from Tufts University
  • Christopher Wylie, Former Director of Research at Cambridge Analytica
    • worked on Barack Obama’s campaign
    • pink hair, nose ring, and a suit and tie
  • Dr. Jamison
  • Senator Kennedy


  • grassley’s introduction seeks to foster a “marketplace” - a very american trope/commonplace
  • cambridge analytica was a shell company for a british company. It was founded by the mercers as well as steve bannon
  • Hirsch
    • divides mobilization and persuasion
    • skeptical of persuasive ability of Cambridge Analytica
  • Wylie
    • less polished than Hirsch
    • refutes the refutation of the effectiveness of profiling by pointing ambigiously to peer reviewed journals
    • ‘what happens when facebook can delete your online persona with impugnity?’
  • Dr Jamison
    • against regulation of facebook
  • Senator Kennedy
    • attack wiley that people are not interested in advertising
  • Senator Leahy
    • questions wiley, who notes that ‘deep state’ and more terms like it were not in mainstream news outlets but nonetheless are effective on internet forums like facebook and that audiences responded to those terms well
    • questions hirsch, who notes ‘just because campaigns spend a lot of money on a particular ad doesn’t mean it works’, cites the failure of robo-calls. The director of research at CA should know the effectiveness of ad-targeting, yet there is no showing of randomized experiments proving the effectiveness
  • Senator Tillis
    • Former data analyst
    • uses the term ‘non-partisan’ not ‘bi-partisan’
    • Hirsch, who is older than Wylie, makes the assertion that no one is required to share their politics on facebook, leaving that role for news organizations with editors
  • Senator Blumenthal
  • Senator Cruz
    • ~‘has facebook been fair and even-handed?’, Jamison responds I have no idea
  • Senator Harris
    • Ads are 98% of facebook revenue
  • Senator Durben
    • the guy who asked zuckerberg ‘would you tell us what hotel you are in?’
  • Senator Hirono
    • asking hirsch ‘it is easier to de-mobilize than to mobilize them?’, Hirsch responds that campaigns do things that are not nice all the time
  • Senator Booker
    • making comments about using an artificial enemy to ignite a base, i.e. Trump targeting muslims to re-inforce his audience who does not like muslims
  • Senator Kennedy 2
    • Hirsch responds that people are drawn to extremism
  • Senator Klobichar 2
    • concerns about the engagement in her feed