Why Malaysians Should Watch Netflix’s The Great Hack

Silicon Valley came about as a place tech entrepreneurs could congregate and use technology to do good for mankind. Tens and thousands of company toiled the hours turning ideas into reality and with some have forever changed the way we live. Then there are those who have not been able to contain their creation and have unleashed a monster among us, that has wreaked havoc without leaving any debris behind.

Netflix’s Great Hack talks about the Cambridge Analytica scandal that rocked social media and how user data was used to coerce grand scale swings in national level decision making like voting. The documentary stabs directly at Facebook and how the largest social media platform allowed Cambridge Analytica to harvest over 80 million user profile with 5000 over dataset per user by just a simple polling app on the site. Two whistle-blowers share their involvement on how they used these datasets to shift peoples decision in two global event, Brexit and the US Presidential Election!

But why Malaysians should also not miss this expose documentary is how at periods in the show Malaysia is mentioned a couple of times by the CEO of Cambridge Analytica Alexander Nix. What sent shivers, was how he elaborated his company helped an African party swing election decision by crafting a social media campaign targeting a certain group of youth. All done with data and statistics. Which of the Malaysian parties engaged their services and were there any voter swings that took place during any of the elections or any other activity?

Another reason why we should watch The Great Hack is how the storytellers raise questions about our personal data that these giant trillion dollar company that use to make money from, should manage them. To what extent they know about us and share that information to us. As what Brittany Kaiser one of the main whistle blowers said, the information we share on social media is like a boomerang, they are then used to send targeted messages back to the user until they purchase a product or an idea the marketer wants to sell.

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