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Weapons of Math Destruction (First Year Read, 2021)

A guide to the 2021 First Year Read pick, Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O'Neil.

Big Data, Civics, and Voting

“They can target microgroups of citizens for both votes and money and appeal to each of them with a meticulously honed message, one that no one else is likely to see. It might be a banner on Facebook or a fund-raising email. But each one allows candidates to quietly sell multiple versions of themselves -- and it’s anyone’s guess which version will show up for work after inauguration.” (pp. 187-188) 

Facebook and its Many Issues

“[W]hat [Facebook’s social scientists] have demonstrated is Facebook’s enormous power to affect what we learn, how we feel, and whether we vote. Its platform is massive, powerful, and opaque. The algorithms are hidden from us, and we see only the results of the experiments researchers choose to publish.” (p. 184)

Cambridge Analytica scandal


Political News: Reach and Engagement


This is not ok