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Orange: The Data Corrupter

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Brexit and the US presidential election have shown how voters can be massively influenced, especially via Facebook. In the era of fake news accusations against the media environment, Orange by Handelsblatt, the youth magazine of the well known German business newspaper, is now setting an example. With the German federal elections approaching, and with them the growing risk of political manipulation through social media networks, GREY has developed a browser plugin for Orange by Handelsblatt, which prevents such a manipulation and pops the digital filter bubble: The Data Corrupter. On Facebook, algorithms continually adjust what is shown on people’s timelines, based on their previous behaviour. This leads to a self-perpetuating cycle where people’s views are artificially limited and reinforced. It results in a self-generated filter bubble, which keeps out news that are not aligned to a person’s views. Based on these behaviour patterns, data analysts can also create psychometric profiles, which are used to micro target users with messages that are aligned to the user’s expectations, therefore making them more receptive to the messaging. Data companies have already confirmed that this type of profiling and targeting was used to influence and manipulate voters in the US elections and during the UK Brexit referendum. The concern of Orange by The Handelsblatt Group is, that the same may now also happen during the German elections. This is precisely what the Data Corrupter has been designed to prevent. Every time Facebook users like a post, the Corrupter automatically adds a number of randomly selected Likes, thereby blurring the user’s profile. These added likes are not visible to the users themselves, or their social media networks, but their profiles have become useless to data analysts.
Credits Other credits

Kim Florio, Chief Strategy Officer

Martin Steinorth, Technical Director

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