We've seen a number of Irish journalists wondering if Cambridge Analytica style tactics could be part of #repeal referendum. In fact they already are and have been for over a year - let us demonstrate that
#repealthe8th
But first its useful to understand that Cambridge Analytica is not just a for profit company but also an ideological tool for the hard right and far right. It's owned by billionaire Mercer family who also funded Breitbart.
Journalists already understand that Murdoch buys newspapers for influence over elections as much as to make profit - Cambridge Analytica and similar are the same sort of duel investment but in social media world
March 8th 2017 saw #Strike4Repeal in Dublin - very quickly after it a professionally made video where ambush interviews were conducted on mostly young people to make them look clueless appeared all over Irish facebook - a lot of money was spent pushing it
A crew of two posh sounding young English men came to Dublin to shoot this ambush video but they were not working alone. They clearly had local anti-choice contacts but they were funded from North America.
Shortly after the video was circulated they became officially part of Canadian alt-right Youtube channel called the Rebel - its funded by an oil industry billionaire. Perhaps the Rebel spent 100,000 promoting this video online, perhaps the funding was from elsewhere in America
The video - facebook.com/FlipsideIrelan… - appeared on a Facebook page that has was set up for this purpose and has almost no other content. A dark ad tactic familiar from the Cambridge Analytica coverage, That video has a million views, 100,000 in paid reach. Who paid?
We do know a little bit about how that reach was obtained. We tracked the ad and we saw that they were paying to reach people & friends of people who followed the National Ploughing Championship page. Some 87,000 people in rural Ireland follow it
We'd take that as a demonstration that ad placement was advised by local anti-choice campaigners. The NPA page is a great way of reaching rural Ireland but not something a Canadian or Brit would know about
#Facebook could tell journalists who paid - you should ask. Save8 should be asked which of their campaigners was advising this group even before the campaign was even set up.
We said the video crew moved on to work for The Rebel - they were crew for hate preacher Tommy Robinson. After Finsbury park van attack UK counter-terrorism police chief said said there was “no doubt” that far-right material posted online by TR drove Osborne to target Muslims
Crew fell out with the Rebel in the rows that swept that Youtube station after coverage of the far-right rally in Charlottesville last August - another far right vehicle attack there killed one women and wounded many. None of this sounds very 'pro-life' does it?
As journalists should already be aware there are deep links between the anti-choice movement in Ireland and the far right here and elsewhere. irishtimes.com/news/neo-nazis…
Here is one anti-choice campaigner welcoming the Brevik murders back in 2011 He as photographed on the 2012 Rally for Life - a lot more details at wsm.ie/c/pro-life-mas…
Fast forward to the last couple of weeks and we have an alt-right student distributing placards with the (obscure) fascist BUF logo on them on the #IWD2018 march. A far-right page publishes a video with these logos at about 2am ...
Next morning anti-choice Save8 spokesperson McGurk finds the video online & tweets it out - he's immediately told its a far right smear but refuses to delete or correct his initial tweet suggesting pro-choice people are marching with fascist signs.
This isn't the first such video McGurk discovers, there were two more, one targetting a sex worker, the other an extract from a young black migrant women 'on a rant' on the day the terrible news about 'Migrant X' emerged wsm.ie/c/migrant-refu…
We suspect these videos will appear again in the last week of the campaign but this time with a massive paid reach pushing them out from some obscure new page that no one has a clue who is funding - journalists need to consider how they will cover this
Back to Cambridge Analytica - the Save 8 campaign has already admitted a connection through a company called Kanto thetimes.co.uk/article/anti-a…
From that piece "Mr Borwick has also worked with Cambridge Analytica, a data-mining company owned by Robert Mercer, a reclusive right-wing billionaire who bankrolled the Trump campaign and several “alt-right” operations including Breitbart News"
If you watched last nights C4 expose you'll have seen Cambridge Analytica CEO saying "we’re used to operating through different vehicles, in the shadows, and I look forward to building a very long-term and secretive relationship with you.” channel4.com/news/cambridge…
"if we are working then we can set up fake IDs and websites, we can be students doing research projects attached to a university, we can be tourists, there’s so many options we can look at. ”
So far only The Times Irish edition has made any effort to cover the dirty tricks that have already emerged. Even pro-choice journalists on the Irish papers seems far more motivated to write opinion pieces on campaign messaging than to expose this
Which is what happened with both Trump & Brexit - mainstream media mostly ignored the available evidence of a vast dark ads campaign, allowing these ads to do their work without a cost to those behind them - lets end with a key point from the CA video
“we just put information into the bloodstream of the internet.. & then watch it grow, give it a little push every now and again… like a remote control. It has to happen without anyone thinking, ‘that’s propaganda’, because .. the next question is, ‘who’s put that out?’"

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More from @WSMIreland

Apr 30, 2018
Today we are warning that #RepealTheEighth vote can't be assumed even through No have failed to increase their vote. If the same last week shift comes into play as for Marriage Equality & Divorce we are looking at a result to close to call. To explain in detail..
#together4yes
1995 Divorce referendum looked to be in the bag from advance polls but on the day was only narrowly carried, it appears major drop in Yes happened in last 10 days. Too long ago to say more but we can say a whole lot more about Marriage Equality..
Marriage Equality also saw sharp drop in last 10 days, there were 4 polls published a weekend before by the same range of companies polling this time around - table shows each poll and then actual result first for raw data, then with Don't Knows excluded..
Read 17 tweets
Apr 17, 2018
A thread on the long running rebellion that eventually forced the government to call a referendum to #repealthe8th - photo is us on the February 1992 X-case march - the point at which the tide turned & lead to the #Together4Yes to get rid of #8thref this May
Our involvement goes further back, WSM formed in 1984 but those members had fought introduction of the 8th as part of the Anti-Amendment Campaign. Felt AAC was too defensive through and there was a need to always include a 'womens right to choose' on every platform
In 1984 Eileen Flynn sacked from teaching job at New Ross convent school - Jesuit priest wrote “Ms Flynn’s pregnancy is significant only as being incontrovertible evidence that her relations with the man in whose house she resided were in fact immoral...
Read 78 tweets

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