Squiz Today / 21 March 2018

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 21 March


“Don’t let those who matter least get the best of you and serve up your grumpy alter ego to the ones you love.”

That’s a mental health tip from Dr Ginni Mansberg. A TV GP, author, businesswoman and mother, Mansberg’s Three Minute Squiz is equal parts thoughtful, inspiring and hilarious. We’ll never look at tablet/capsule packaging in quite the same way ever again…


Social media giant Facebook is in the middle of a huge scandal involving data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica. It’s alleged the firm exploited 50 million users’ data which it turned into campaigns that helped win 2016’s US presidential election for Donald Trump and the UK Brexit referendum. As an indication of the impact the scandal has already had, Facebook's share price fell by 7% (US$37 billion) on Monday after the news broke, and it has dropped further in trading overnight.

The short(er) story is:

• A 2014 Facebook quiz on personality type harvested information on 50 million US voters.

• That information was wrongfully accessed by Cambridge Analytica, a company headed by former Trump strategist Steve Bannon, “to build a system that could profile individual US voters, in order to target them with personalised political advertisements.”

• Former CA staffer Christopher Wylie blew the whistle on the weekend saying: “We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles. And built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons. That was the basis the entire company was built on.”

• Arguing that the data leak was not technically a ‘breach’, Facebook says it dealt with the matter a while ago and had received assurances from Cambridge Analytica that the data it had was deleted.

• Yesterday, the UK’s Channel 4 aired a sensational undercover investigation where Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix was filmed talking about the ‘honey traps’ and sleazy tactics it deploys in its campaigns. For its part, Cambridge Analytica says it; “only receives and uses data that has been obtained legally and fairly.”

A whole lotta misery for Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. Lawmakers in the US and UK want to talk to both of them. Aussie political parties were quick to rule out any connection with Cambridge Analytica yesterday, and our privacy commissioner wants assurances no Aussies had their data misused. Meanwhile, a #deletefacebook campaign took off yesterday. Wouldn’t you miss the quizzes though?


The police officer at the centre of the Justine Damond shooting in Minneapolis has been charged with her killing. The 40yo Australian woman was shot and killed by Officer Mohamed Noor in July last year after calling police to investigate what she thought was an attack on a woman near her home. Noor had refused to be interviewed following the shooting.

The Australian this morning says it will be headed by former Australian Federal Police commissioner Mick Keelty. Details will be announced by the NSW Government today. Shock turned to anger yesterday with accusations flying between the Fire and Rescue service, which says it offered help, and the Rural Fire Service. Residents have started to return to Tathra to assess the damage.

ANOTHER TEXAS PACKAGE EXPLODES – The fifth explosion in three weeks has led to claims there is a serial bomber. The first four explosions occurred in Austin killing two people, injuring four, and unsettling the community.

XI READY TO TAKE ON THE WORLD - Chinese forever-President Xi Jinping said yesterday it was now China’s time to take its "due place in the world." "Every inch of our great motherland's territory cannot be separated from China," he said. Which analysts say is a bookmark for his ambition to ‘reunify’ with Taiwan in his lifetime. One to watch.

STAR PUTS HAND UP FOR POLITICS - Cynthia Nixon, aka feisty lawyer Miranda Hobbes from SATC, yesterday threw her hat in to become governor of New York. First, she has to contest the race to be the Democratic candidate, and that will be tough given she’s up against the incumbent governor Andrew Cuomo. The same joke was made over and over on Twitter about her news…

Sad news for animal conservation this week – Sudan, the world’s last male northern white rhino, died on Monday. There are two female white rhinos left – Sudan’s daughter Najin and Najin's daughter Fatu. Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya where he lived took his genetic material in the hope future technology could one day revive the species. Sudan shot to fame in 2017 when the conservancy put him on dating app Tinder.

In good news for drummers everywhere, the Beatles’ Ringo Starr has been knighted for his contribution to music. Prince William did the honours at Buckingham Palace. "It means a lot actually. It means recognition for the things we've done. I was really pleased to accept this," he said. He also said he missed his Beatle friends. It’s been 21 years since McCartney was knighted and 53 years since the Beatles famously received MBEs from the Queen.


12.30pm (AEDT) - Sally McManus, Secretary, Australian Council Trade Unions, will address the National Press Club - Canberra

ABS Data Release - Labour Force, February

Harmony Day

UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

UN World Down Syndrome Day

UN World Poetry Day

UN International Day of Forests

Anniversary of the release of U2's The Joshua Tree album (1987)

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