Did Facebook data help Trump? ‘Great Hack’ explores scandal


FILE – This Feb. 19, 2014, file photo, shows WhatsApp and Facebook app icons on a smartphone in New York. Is Big Tech headed for a big breakup? Federal regulators are already investigating Facebook’s privacy practices. And the antitrust question has been rumbling in the background, with critics calling for spinning off WhatsApp and Instagram. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — The new documentary “The Great Hack” captures how Facebook’s cavalier handling of user data in the Cambridge Analytica scandal posed a threat to democracy.

But it doesn’t prove the filmmakers’ claims that the ill-gotten data helped elect Donald Trump.

The movie doesn’t quite separate Cambridge Analytica’s marketing boasts from what really happened. Experts say Cambridge Analytica’s electoral influence was plausible but inconclusive.

The movie does provide a good overview on the collection and use of data to influence what people are thinking on social media, including how they might vote. It also serves as a reminder of the tremendous power and threat of Big Data.

The movie is out on Netflix and in some theaters Wednesday.

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