PH 2nd most affected country by Cambridge Analytica data mining scandal

By Carlos Nazareno

In a recent update on their plans to restrict data access to their platform, social media giant Facebook revealed a graph that categorized by country the people whose Facebook information may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica, the political consulting firm at the center of a data privacy and electoral manipulation crisis.

According to Facebook’s estimates, people from the Philippines ranked the second highest (1,175,870) next to the United States (70,632,350), followed by Indonesia (1,096,666), then the United Kingdom (1,079,031) as the most affected by Cambridge Analytica’s data mining operations.

In a report in the South China Morning Post, journalist Raissa Robles outlined how Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL Group (formerly Strategic Communication Laboratories), may have helped propel President Rodrigo Duterte to power in the 2016 elections. In it, screenshots from an older version of the SCL Group website described a client whose profile closely matched Duterte.

US president Donald Trump in a meeting with Pres. Rodrigo Duterte. Photo credit: Karl Norman Alonzo via Wikimedia Commons

It appears that SCL Group may have maintained a Philippine presence as early as 2015 as evidenced by a visit by disgraced Cambridge Analytica CEO and SCL Group director Alexander Nix in May of that year. During his visit, Nix gave a talk before the National Press Club of the Philippines in which he outlined how digital technologies like text messages, e-mails, and social media combined with psychographic profiling could highly target and influence voters in the Philippines.

Nix is currently at the center of a political scandal after having been secretly filmed by journalists from Channel 4 News in a hotel where he discussed controversial methods for political candidate clients to win elections.

SCL Group lists an office in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, one of the most expensive real estate properties in the Philippines, under the name Istratehiya Inc on its website. According to incorporation papers by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company was formed in 2012.

The Philippines’ National Privacy Commission is looking into the controversy.

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: How to find out if Cambridge Analytica hijacked your Facebook data - Newsbytes Philippines

Comment on this post