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OXFORDSHIRE, United Kingdom — Are platforms like Facebook safe spaces for fashion brands to appear?
That was the question posed by investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr to an audience of global thought-leaders, executives and entrepreneurs at BoF VOICES in November.
The Guardian and Observer reporter also called out corporations that use problematic platforms without raising any alarm of their misuse of data. “The advertising industry and fashion brands are completely complicit in this ecosystem [of misinformation],” she said.
Cadwalladr worked with whistleblower Christopher Wylie on an investigation into Cambridge Analytica, a controversial British political marketing firm and vendor to the Trump and Brexit campaigns.
In 2018, she lifted the lid on the misuse of data belonging to 87 million Facebook users by the company.
The result was a $5 billion fine for Facebook levied by the Federal Trade Commission — one of the biggest regulatory fines imposed by the US government on a company. But despite what Cadwalladr describes as a “global democratic scandal,” the social media giant’s share prices increased.
“You are in a space where laws do not work,” Cadwalladr said. “It was the biggest investigation [against Facebook] in history and yet the share prices went up.”
With the upcoming British General Election, Cadwalladr urged political actors to look outside the “Westminster politics lens,” raising concerns about the country’s electoral system.
“[Our electoral processes] are absolutely unfit for purpose, they can be abused by any bad actor whether in this country or outside and we need to urgently fix them,” she said.
“Yet what did the government do, it called an election and just totally ignored that.”
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