Abuse of the Facebook platform for political purposes is a problem that does not end at the US border. Governments around the world continue to grapple with Cambridge Analytica's adoption of Facebook user data from the heart of Europe into the capitals of Latin American's most populous countries.
In South America, several more chapters are still being written in the public coverage of the privacy of Facebook. Some Latin American democracies are also investigating whether the data collection techniques associated with Cambridge Analytica (CA) were used in their election processes.
Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and South America: Summary
The Brazilian Public Prosecutor's Office opened an investigation to clarify whether Cambridge Analytica (CA) had illegal access to Facebook's private information of millions of Brazilians through its subsidiary, an advisory group based in Sao Paulo called A Ponte Estratégia Planejamento e Pesquisa LTDA.
The investigation came as a result of Chief Data Officer Alex Tayler of Cambridge Analytica and Managing Director Mark Turnbull become an undercover news journalist that the company aimed, among other things, at Brazil. The Brazilian case is a big deal for Facebook, as it is the third largest market and will be voted on in seven months.
The parent company of Cambridge Analytica SCL Group, has an office in Buenos Aires which address agrees with the office of an Argentine agricultural company called Blacksoil, Clarin . The article pointed out that Alexander Nix, former CEO of CA, was a friend of company owner Lucas Talamoni Grether with whom he had previously business.
The Argentine National Electoral Chamber (CNE), which oversees electoral and campaign contributions and expenses, launched an "internal investigation" following the scandal voiced by the British TV station 4. Political parties accuse each other of using CA services in the 201
Mexico and Colombia
Mexico, the fifth largest market for Facebook, is also involved in the Cambridge Analytica debacle. In the same video mentioned by CA executives targeting Brazil, they admitted to operating in Mexico with an app called Pig.Gi. Mexico's elections will take place on 1 July. The same app was used to access data from Colombian users, according to the tech site Hipertextual
Nonetheless, Joel Phillips, founder and CEO of Pig.Gi, admitted to a deal with the data company but the information never came into their hands, and there is no evidence that the company had access to personal information from Mexicans or Colombians, the same article said.
In addition to being named by Alexander Nix in the video leak that blew the scandal, there is not much empirical evidence that Cambridge Analytica is actually bypassing electoral processes in South America. Ineffective efforts by the Cambridge Analytica were, however Facebook is still on the hook when it comes to "fake news" and misinformation in the region.
Failing integrated emerging democracies
During the Argentine elections process in 2017, hundreds of fake articles were distributed through Facebook. A fact-checking site called Chequeado compiled some of the misinformation that was distributed on the platform.
Among them there were reports that accused the leader of a teachers' union of not being a teacher; The Governor of Buenos Aires Province raised its own salary by 100%, even claiming that the US government considers Macri's administration the most corrupt in the world.
Some websites have been created exclusively to spread fake messages on Facebook, and these songs have been viral over and over again.
On the other hand, Brazil has become a false news heaven. The political instability that dominates the country has made it easier for fake news to spread in fanatical circles. Monitor Do Debate Politico No. Meio Digital an organization following in the footsteps of political news in social networks, El Pais said that there are many places that do not officially develop a system Campaign of fake news before the elections in October, but have begun to spread false reports in the social ecosystem.
This scheme is repeated in all Latin American countries – and with the same characteristics. I t is not necessarily systemic, but it is growing. The difference is in the plausibility of the pieces that were distributed in the region.
Although there were no conspiracy theories comparing candidates to a reptile the stories in South America aimed to reinforce what people thought of political figures.
According to Luciano Galup, a social media strategist for political campaigns in the region, fake news is most effective in polarized societies. A study conducted by the University of Oxford in the US showed that extremists tend to spread more false information than moderate parties. And polarization is a key feature of the political scenario of the Latin American region. This makes Latin America the perfect victim for people trying to manipulate elections by presenting propaganda as topical news.
If we try to solve the problem with governments' lack of control and Facebook, we have a ticking time bomb. The only advantage, according to Galup, is that services like Cambridge Analytica are prohibitively expensive for most political parties in Latin America.
In this case, the only way to save elections in the region from outside corrupting influences may be the greed of the same corruptive influences.