The reporter who broke the Cambridge Analytica–Facebook scandal has taken down the tech giants for undermining democracy.
In a TED Talk in Vancouver, Carole Cadwalladr called out the “gods of Silicon Valley” for their role in helping authoritarians consolidate their power in different countries.
Some quotes from the TED talk
Facebook, you were on the wrong side of history in that. And you are on the wrong side of history in this—in refusing to give us the answers that we need.
And your employees and your investors, too. We are what happens to a western democracy when a hundred years of electoral laws are disrupted by technology.
This technology that you have invented has been amazing but now it’s a crime scene. And you have the evidence. And it is not enough to say that you will do better in the future because to have any hope of stopping this from happening again, we have to know the truth.
Because what the Brexit vote demonstrates is that liberal democracy is broken, and you broke it.
This is not democracy: spreading lies in darkness, paid for with illegal cash from God knows where.
It’s subversion and you are accessories to it. And it is not about left or right or leave or remain or Trump or not. It’s about whether it’s actually possible to have a free and fair election ever again. Because as it stands, I don’t think it is.
And so my question to you is: is this what you want? Is this how you want history to remember you? As the handmaidens to authoritarianism that is on the rise all across the world?
Because you set out to connect people—and you are refusing to acknowledge that the same technology is now driving us apart.
My question to everybody else is: is this what we want? To let them get away with it—and to sit back and play with our phones as this darkness falls?”
Her account in The Guardian
Cadwalladr wrote a first-person account in the Guardian of her experience giving the talk at TED, which she describes as “the holy temple of tech”, where new developments used to be unveiled.
“It was only later that I began to realise quite what TED had done: how, in this setting, with this crowd, it had committed the equivalent of inviting the fox into the henhouse. And I was the fox,” Cadwalladr wrote. “Or as one attendee put it: ‘You came into their temple,’ he said. ‘And shat on their altar.’ “
SOURCE: The Guardian