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'Mindf*ck' è il titolo del libro-denuncia di Christopher Wylie, il trentenne canadese che lavorava come data scientist presso Cambridge Analytica e che ora svela i retroscena di uno dei maggiori scandali politici degli ultimi anni.

In 2018, a young Canadian man with pink hair called Christopher Wylie blew the whistle on a company called Cambridge Analytica. While working for the political consultancy in 2016, Wylie said he had helped create a psychological tool to manipulate people and secure votes for the successful Trump campaign in the US and the Brexit ‘Leave’ campaign in the UK.

In his new book Mindf*ck the 30-year-old data scientist describes how his former-employer, run by a British man called Alexander Nix, came under the influence of two right-wing Americans: the billionaire Robert Mercer and Steve Bannon.

Cambridge Analytica then illegally obtained the Facebook information of 87 million people and used it to build psychological profiles of voters. This data was used to spread narratives on social media that aimed to encourage racist views, or to stop people from voting.

Wylie also tells his personal story. A gay man, liberal in his politics and interested in culture and fashion, he wanted to use technology to improve communication and citizen engagement. When he realised that the tools he had helped create to combat radicalism online were being used to do the opposite, he left Cambridge Analytica.

In 2018, Wylie worked with newspapers The Guardian and The New York Times to expose the story. It led to the largest data-crime investigation in history, forcing the US Congress, the British Parliament and the EU to introduce legislation.

Wylie worries that not enough has been done to stop this happening again. He wrote the book, he says, as an exposé and a warning of the ways in which democracy can be exploited to divide and control us.