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The Great Hack

This documentary attempts to give the full story of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. To refresh memories, Cambridge Analytical use the data from millions of Facebook users to target voters for political advertising purposes during the 2016 elections in the US (as well as the Brexit campaigns). The film tracks the timeline of Cambridge Analytica’s demise, including the involvement of the chief whistleblowers, Chris Wylie and Brittany Kaiser. From a film perspective, I did not think it to be the greatest of documentaries. Particularly in the first half, there is a lot of “filler” space. Granted, some of it is quite beautiful to watch, but the real substance of the film doesn’t really come until the second half, which is worth the watch. The implications of what Cambridge Analytica was able to do in terms of using data to swing elections, not only in the UK and US but worldwide, is something that everyone should understand. The use of data to manipulate public opinion is here to stay, and the film does a pretty decent job of driving that point home. Thumbs up for a documentary that needs doesn’t do the best job of giving depth of analysis to the key players – the whistleblowers,  Mark Zuckerberg, the president of Cambridge Analytica, and the woman who broke the story in the Guardian but delivers an unambiguous message: We need to pay close attention to how our opinions are being shaped by larger political forces. (2019; 3 Stars)

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