Cambridge Analytica Influenced Kenyan Elections?

  • Cambridge Analytica exploited Facebook data of 50 million Americans
  • Opposition parties are calling for an investigation into the firm’s election role

Cambridge Analytica, the data analytics firm which exploited Facebook (FB +0.46%) data of 50 million Americans, was also at work in Kenya during last year’s elections. The opposition party in Kenya has called for an investigation into Cambridge Analytica’s role in the country’s election. Was the firm actually effective in swinging these elections in the favor of its clients?

Why This Matters: If Cambridge Analytica was effective in swinging elections in Kenya, then despots in African countries could gain leverage in resisting calls for democratic elections.

There is a long history of Western influence in African politics since the independence movement across the continent during the 1950s and 1960s. Over the past decade, technology has been at the forefront of the continued fight for improved governance across the continent. Countries like Cameroon, the Gambia, and Mali have attempted to restrict access to the internet in efforts to suppress calls for regime changes. Leaders in these countries have been in power for decades. A Western firm like Cambridge Analytica shaping the winners of a democratic election helps those seeking to restrict the influence of technology on governance.

Situational Awareness: Tensions were high in the country after the Supreme Court nullified the initial election results and called for another election. Cambridge Analytica doesn’t appear to have had an outsized impact on the Kenyan elections. However, the firm does appear to have implemented straight forward negative advertising on Facebook. In Kenyan politics, radio not the internet is king.

CBx Vibe: “Up to Something” Iyanya, Dr. SID, Don Jazzy