Facebook’s role in Brexit – and the threat to democracy

Possibly the most explosive TED talk I’ve seen, ever. Carole Cadwalladr breaks down “Facebook’s role in Brexit – and the threat to democracy”.


Carole Cadwalladr’s investigations may be the most important of a generation. Her work has exposed the workings of the tower at the centre of the panopticon, the machine that manipulates democracy.

For those unfamiliar, the panopticon is an idea, a circular prison with cells that have glass walls. Watched from a central tower, compliance is teased from its tenants because we never know when we’re being watched.

Michel Foucault used it as a metaphor highlighting the way power, since the destruction of absolute monarchies, has sought to hide itself from view. If there is no focus for our anger, it’s impossible to remove the cause of our pain.

If we are tenants of the panopticon, Facebook has made themselves the warders, and they’re stressing us into compliance. What I’d like to know is who pays them? Because whomever pays the warder calls the shots.

The biggest obstacle to finding that, is what we see when we look out of our cells. It’s not the looming black tower at the centre, but our own reflections in the glass.

We need to find ways to get a light into that tower.

Cadwalladr has gone some way to doing that. With the help of whistleblower Christopher Wylie, she was able to expose a small part of the tower’s mechanism, how the various platforms, stairs, landings, and corridors, link.

There are still questions to be answered. Where do the corridors lead, who is behind the various doors of the labyrinthine maze? I have theories, I’m sure Cadwalladr does too.

I just hope she keeps looking, because we all need her answers.

Once she does have more answers, we have to decide what we do with her revelations, because they will be revelations. Keep in mind that the structure we’re all part of is designed to have us stare like Narcissus at our own reflection. Do we have the will to see past our own image, to the structure of the tower, and what’s hidden within?

This will take great effort and the will to see it all? I think we must.


Project Drawdown: 100 solutions to climate change


Chad Frischmann’s talk offers an antidote to the pessimism and apocalypse fatigue associated with the problem of global warming, Project Drawdown.

“Drawdown is that point in time when the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere begins to decline on a year-to-year basis.” The project “is the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming”. They’ve gathered together “a qualified and diverse group of researchers from around the world” to find answers. They modelled the one hundred of the most substantive solutions to address the problems. The thing is, most of the solutions already exist.

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