Christopher Wylie

in Victoria, Canada
June 19, 1989


Christopher Wylie has been called “the millennials’ first great whistleblower” and “a pink-haired, nose-ringed oracle sent from the future.” He is known for his role in setting up—and then taking down—Cambridge Analytica. His revelations exposing the rampant misuse of data rocked Silicon Valley and led to some of the largest multinational investigations into data crime ever. Born in British Columbia, Canada, he studied law at the London School of Economics before moving into cultural data science and fashion trend forecasting. He lives in London, England.

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“In one experiment, CA would show people on online panels pictures of simple bar graphs about uncontroversial things (e.g., the usage rates of mobile phones or sales of a car type) and the majority would be able to read the graph correctly. However, unbeknownst to the respondents, the data behind these graphs had actually been derived from politically controversial topics, such as income inequality, climate change, or deaths from gun violence. When the labels of the same graphs were later switched to their actual controversial topic, respondents who were made angry by identity threats were more likely to misread the relabeled graphs that they had previously understood. What CA observed was that when respondents were angry, their need for complete and rational explanations was also significantly reduced. In particular, anger put people in a frame of mind in which they were more indiscriminately punitive, particularly to out-groups. They would also underestimate the risk of negative outcomes. This led CA to discover that even if a hypothetical trade war with China or Mexico meant the loss of American jobs and profits, people primed with anger would tolerate that domestic economic damage if it meant they could use a trade war to punish immigrant groups and urban liberals.”
Christopher Wylie, Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America

“It turns out that Republicans can accept a batshit insane candidate, so long as it’s consistent insanity.”
Christopher Wylie, Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America

“Facebook is no longer just a company, I told them. It’s a doorway into the minds of the American people, and Mark Zuckerberg left that door wide open for Cambridge Analytica, the Russians, and who knows how many others. Facebook is a monopoly, but its behavior is more than a regulatory issue—it’s a threat to national security. The concentration of power that Facebook enjoys is a danger to American democracy.”
Christopher Wylie, Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America

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