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TELEVISION: Mind Games

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Have you ever opened Facebook and swore that it was eavesdropping on your conversation? Either you see an ad for something you were just talking about or, even creepier, just thinking about? Well that is just one example of targeted advertisements, which illustrates just how accurate data mining has become today. Online retailers can now predict a consumer’s purchasing plans based on google searches and web traffic. It’s what Wiliam Gibson dubbed pattern recognition. One of the break out docs at Sundance this year The Great Hack just hit Netflix and in our interconnected world it could be one of the most important films and terrifying films you see this year. The film dissects how Cambridge Analytica weaponized voter Facebook accounts for the benefit of the Trump and Brexit campaigns, using stolen Facebook data to create data points to build psychographic profiles of undecided voters. Cambridge Analytica then targeted these voters with a steady stream of curated propaganda to get the desired effect in the election. The film adeptly drills down on these old military “psych-ops” techniques and chillingly shows how they worked their black magic in the 2016 presidential election. It’s a film that will no doubt change how you consume social media, and will make you think twice the next time a new ad or political advertisement shows up in your Facebook feed. Which is a good thing. – DAN TABOR

RELATED: How The Great Hack Terrified Audiences At Sundance, And Then Got Even Scarier

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