The Dark Side of That Personality Quiz You Just Took - 2017-07-13
Clearly, personality quizzes have some sort of perennial appeal. Facebook newsfeeds are filled with BuzzFeed quizzes and other oddball questionnaires that tell you which city you should actually live in, which ousted Arab Spring ruler you are, and which Hogwarts house you belong in. But these new online quizzes have a dark edge that their analog predecessors didn't. In the wake of the U.S. election, a secretive data firm hired by Donald Trump's campaign boasted that it has been using quizzes for years to gather personal information about millions of voters. Its goal: the creation of digital profiles that can predict—and possibly exploit—Americans' values, anxieties, and political leanings.
Whether this firm, Cambridge Analytica, has actually used predictive profiles to influence people isn't certain; reports suggest it hasn't, at least not directly. But the company's methods nonetheless expose the growing scale of personality analysis online—and the dangers that come with it. On the internet, anything you do is like taking a personality quiz: Everywhere you click reveals something about you. And you're not the only one who sees the results.