Christopher Wylie speaks on stage during #BoFVOICES | Source: Getty Images for The Business of Fashion
OXFORDSHIRE, United Kingdom — In an explosive opening to VOICES 2018, whistleblower Christopher Wylie revealed that the political implications of fashion run deeper than thought. Political marketing firm Cambridge Analytica, where Wylie worked alongside Steve Bannon in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, weaponised individual fashion preferences to feed algorithms that targeted people with pro-Trump messaging.
Wylie, who made news earlier this year after uncovering data misuse affecting 87 million Facebook users, explained how preferences for certain brands (expressed through “likes” on social media) indicated psychological and personality traits that determined a person’s susceptibility to populist messaging. He went on to make a call to action to critically evaluate and rein in the largely unchecked power of big tech.
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