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How a Facebook Quiz helped Trump in Winning US Elections 2016

Cute, harmless questionnaires are often seen and shared on Facebook other social media apps like “How long have you been a Facebook user?” or “What word you use the most?” etc.

A personality quiz was taken by an app named “thisismydigitallife”. It was a personality quiz in which questions like how outgoing you are, how revengeful you can be, do you finish a project or not, how much do you worry, what do you like arts or science, are you talkative or prefer silence, were asked.

A man with the name Alexsandr Kogan designed this quiz and it was answered by almost 320,000 people.

US Republican supporters, founders of the company Cambridge Analytica hired Kogan to conduct this survey. People like Steve Bannon who are the important strategist for Donald Trump were part of this whole dramatic episode.

The app of Kogan circulated through Facebook. Through this app not just survey information was taken but also personal details were extracted from the person taking the test and his/her Facebook friends.

So via Facebook details of 50 million users were taken. There likes, dislikes, pictures, social network everything was known to the Trump administration without their knowledge or consent.

Kogan and Cambridge used this info for the psychological profiling of the USA voters. A strong database helped Trump design his campaign which ultimately resulted in his victory in 2016.

This whole project was basically based on work of an ex- Cambridge scientist, Michal Kosinski.

Kosinski and David Stillwell, his research partner used their personality test app, “myPersonality” to analyze the traits of the Facebook user and create their profiles. A study was published by them in 2015 called, “Computer-based personality Judgments are more accurate than those made by humans.” The study claimed that through the person’s usage of Facebook ‘Likes’ their accurate psychometric personality can be drafted.

They said, “Computers outpacing humans in personality Judgment presents significant opportunities and challenges in the areas of psychological assessment, marketing, and privacy.”

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Kosinski never shared the results with either Kogan or Cambridge Analytica as he knew it will be used for running a political campaign. But Kogan got the idea from here to draft his own quiz. This, in turn, became the backbone of whole Trump Campaign and is an eventual win.

It worked for Trump but the whole procedure is being called illegal and it has created a huge controversy for Facebook. So much so that now the WhatsApp co-founder is telling everyone to delete Facebook.