Cambridge Analytica 2.0? Is UK The New Star In 'Homeland'?

Social media is in the dock, again, this week with two committees of MPs tackling fake news and the responsibilities of social media. It was, of course, all foreshadowed by the amazing "Homeland" series, which predicted our politics would be subject to a rise of fake news, privacy invasions, bot networks and bad actors.

I'm just wondering, though, is it just me? Does anyone else see this week as shaping up to be the equivalent of a trailer for the hit show's next season? Only, actually, we're dealing with real lives and real politics here.

The week kicked off, after the Bank Holiday, with the Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, warning that a series of ads calling on Facebook users to push for a hard Brexit could have scraped up to a million email addresses. The fear is this was done without consent, and if so, that would be illegal under GDPR.

The campaign was made to appear as if it were a grassroots movement, but The Guardian has shown that it is likely to have been orchestrated and funded by Lynton Crosby via his company, CTF.

This could be a possible reason why one of the big groups behind the campaign, Britain's Future, came from nowhere to be the UK's largest ever political advertiser on Facebook. The organisation's founder has refused to answer questions over where the funding came from.

As part of its excellent reporting, The Guardian also pointed out that Crosby had been a part of the team that twice aided Boris' push to become London Mayor. The paper was also very keen on pointing out that Boris is now one of the favourites to take over as PM when Theresa May resigns or is possibly ousted. 

The unwritten supposition hanging over the paper's reporting was that this secretive, coordinated hard Brexit advertising campaign was linked to a potential future attempt by Boris to become PM.

It's quite surprising, then, that buried in The Times today we have an announcement from Boris Johnson. Guess what is says? Yes, that's right-- he's bringing in Crosby and CTF to help him plan his route to the top.

Apparently, Boris felt there were too many involved in the last leadership campaign, in 2016, and he wants great clarity this time around with a clearer direction.

So, what do we have? A series of pro Brexit ads that appear to have been funded by CTF, despite their outward appearance of coming from other, grassroots organisations.

We have the potential illegal gathering of a million email address being investigated by the ICO. We have the guy who possibly funded the campaign now being given the green light to run Boris' campaign for PM. 

You really couldn't make it up. 

Social media was further criticised by a committee of MPs yesterday for failing to report criminal activity on their sites. For me, however, this is the one that is the issue that is slipping under the radar. 

A British firm, Cambridge Analytica, has already been found guilty of scraping personal information from Facebook illegally in a bid to help Donald Trump get elected. The result, after a series of cover-ups, is a $5bn fine on its way to Facebook HQ and the world's most famous Twitter user in the White House with his "caps lock" button on.

We now have an Australian's business in London under investigation over whether it illegally gathered personal information en masse which is about to start helping, it hopes, to get the next British Prime Minister in post. 

Anyone else seeing a similarity here? It feels like Cambridge Analytica was the "previously on" and Boris and CTF are the trailer for the next series. 

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