Christopher Wylie

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Data Expert & Cambridge Analytica's 'Whistleblower'

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Synopsis

Christopher Wylie, known as the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, is a data scientist, microtargeting expert and author. He has testified in government-led investigations; forced society to consider how their online profiles could be used against them; and caused a significant drop in Facebook’s market value after speaking up about the company’s data malpractices. Author of Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America, Christopher discusses the threat social media has on democracy, the dangers of data mining and the ethics involved in political campaigns.

Biography

Social researcher and data scientist, Christopher Wylie is perhaps best known as the whistleblower behind the Cambridge Analytica scandal. An expert in data and microtargeting, Christopher has acted as an advisor for both Canadian and British governments and is currently the Director of Research for fashion brand H&M.    

It was when Christopher began working on political campaigns in Canada and the US, including Obama’s presidential campaign, that he first started to study the worlds of coding and of microtargeting. Microtargeting is the technique of collating data on every aspect of a user’s online life, using it to create groups of specific shared interests, and delivering specially targeted messages to them. Christopher developed his work in these areas working for the Liberal Democrats in the UK. He then joined strategic communication and behaviour research company SCL Group and its subsidiary Cambridge Analytica, a wing that specialised in data-driven psychographic targeting for political campaigns. After SCL, Christopher founded his own microtargeting communications agency, Eunoia Technologies.

Christopher became the focus of international attention when he was involved in exposing Cambridge Analytica’s unauthorised use of data harvested from Facebook. He revealed how the company had covertly influenced user opinions and attitudes during elections with questionable data-driven practices. The scandal served as a wake-up call to users and regulators, highlighting the modern nature of privacy and data mining, and leading to changes in legislation and company practices. His book Mindf*ck: Inside Cambridge Analytica’s Plot to Break the World dives into the story behind the plot to influence elections with targeted campaigns, Facebook’s involvement in the affair and the ideological warfare in America.

With insights and stories from Cambridge Analytica and the disturbing power of algorithms Christopher discusses the weaponisation of information and data by governments and businesses. He reveals how social media platforms can be used to influence consumer attitudes and demands. He also discusses the future of technology, psychographic targeting, and how AI will be used to predict cultural trends, from fashion to politics.

Christopher has been featured in media around the world and has appeared on the critically acclaimed Netflix documentary The Great Hack. He also writes for the youth culture magazine Dazed and been listed on Politico’s 50 Most Influential People in Politics, Forbes’ 30 Under 30 and TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.

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