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Cambridge Analytica and Social Media Destroyed Kenyan Democracy

Cambridge Analytica and Social Media Destroyed Kenyan Democracy


Cambridge Analytica and Social Media Destroyed Kenyan Democracy

Cambridge Analytica (CA) is a political consulting firm based in UK. They use the business model based on numerical analysis and branding in marketing and advertising. These methods are too useful in running the election campaign of political parties in the democratic state. CA gained a negative publicity because of using below the belt tactics in elections of the nations. In specific, it used all available tactics for their client to give the upper hand over their political rivals. CA is dangerous because it uses personal data in serious privacy breach and model the leaning of individual voters. Based on the results of modelling, they devise a campaign for the client. Sometimes they spearhead the campaign to prove their results. The CA has done it and Face book has made it viable. It is okay to find the mood of public, but to micromanage and run a fake campaign is criminal.

In 2017 CA worked for Uhuru Kenyatta of Jubilee Party in Kenya elections. They accessed 50,000 voters’ personal data from the social media under the pretext of conducting an academic study. Modelled the voter behaviour and designed a befitting campaign. The entire campaign painted the opposition leader Raila Odinga a blood thirsty person and not interested in development. They tagged him to Al-Shabab an extremist organisation. CA had the help of 360 media of Simon Gicharu and editor-in-chief National Media Group Tom Mshindi to tweak the online campaign according to their design. Court rejected the first vote because of mass accusations of irregularities. The second vote they declared Uhuru Kenyatta winner with 98{e7dc6fb6a411593559bed1d9924d8030d60fc3f24c9293f7c98c249df74a0c2f} vote. It was a close fought and fierce campaign, 24 people lost their lives and more left injured. Things looked reasonable on the surface but the facts came when CA executive caught on live media. The Channel 4 filmed CA executive boosting the way they re-branded the party manifesto and the full campaign. CA even wrote the speeches of the client further. It is ridiculous that when Kenyatta and his deputy spoke against the western imperialism in speeches; they were paying substantial sums to CA for their services. It is nonsensical to see the leaders of leading party speaking like a caged parrot in an extended campaign by an external company.

A data analysis is fine till they do not breach the privacy. But in this case the user is unaware of being used in the setup. They suppress him in toeing the erroneous line. An ordinary person ever thinks the social media corner is of his own, expresses explicit and candid opinions on his space. He or She thinks select group knows his views alone. The second biggest sin is spreading fake news. In Kenya now many people demanding the probe the role of CA in annual elections of 2017. Though the Jubilee Party is playing down the role of CA. The right of electorate is to get a reliable picture before exercising his voting right. He needs clear facts put to him. After, the event is over the individual fills indignant voting for fake news. Third is the credibility of social media corners. The control of the media can compromise the full data to anyone for some reasons. A biased programme is a form of emotional extortion of the Nation. It is fatal for the democracies as the muddy political scenario may impair the state power. In an acute case may lead to loss of freedom.

No, doubt CA destroyed Kenya, even though uncertain to what extent. They swayed the choices of electorate morphed them to a degree. It will continue to happen when people and their political masters do not understand the difference between advertisement and political campaign. Kenya is a correct example of for the emerging democracies to go to what extent in achieving the political goals. The biggest ordeal faced by lowest in link the common man, his faith in the electoral system may fade as the branding companies intrude in the system because of absence of the real picture.

CA with an ability to mine a huge data and finding the clues of voters attitude, fears and choices and runs a successful campaign. The ruthlessness shown by CA may show the expert approach of the firm, but it harms a whole nation. The data mining can pinpoint actual issues of connected to the people and direct the campaign. But the correctness direction on the scale of morality and need of the nation is paramount. One must make sensible decisions between fake news for own advantages and overall betterment of the nation.  Another fact that gave the advantage to CA is the inferior or no privacy laws in African and Asian countries. In fact, from 2013 till to date the number of internet users in Kenya is more than doubled but there are no strict privacy laws. In Kenya those expected to punish the CA, were beneficiaries’ of evil acts of the company.

It may not be the exaggeration if one can see analogy in CA as modern face of East India Company. They entered country for doing business and ended up ruling the nation. If seen in this point view, there are issues relating to morality, philosophy and the legality throw up more questions about politics in the digital age. Organisations like CA must remain out of our political establishment for that nations should have stringent Cyber and privacy laws. The electoral politics must remain indigenous to the base. In India, Indian National Congress (Indira) is too accused of taking the alleged help of CA with an eye to dethrone present government of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. It is allegedly believed that with help of CA and some associates they manufactured caste based political ruckus all over India and especially in Gujarat before election and Mandsaur agitation is another alleged incident. Even coverage by few INC(I) favourite media house could create a strong doubt whether Indian media was also at their payroll to cover the ruckus and put whole country at the point of massive breakdown to satisfy political ambition of one party and one person.

The power hungry political parties need to look at digital politics. In pursuance of the radical goals they may sacrifice the instruments they are fighting for and end up in bigger debacle in politics. That is why responsibility necessary in a democracy than the sheer expression of freedom.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official position of Article had been published on as-is basis and does not assume any responsibility or liability for any information(s) on this article.

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