The Great Hack covers the revelation that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica secretly collected 87 million Facebook users’ data.
The Great Hack starts with a light recap of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, enhanced with shimmering graphics that represent people’s data leaking from their phones and laptops. Then it jumps back to the start of the controversy, drawing from months’ worth of candid recordings following a few notable players.
The rest of the film, which is nearly two and a half hours long, plays out like a corporate drama with dual protagonists. (Co-director Jehane Noujaim also directed Startup.com, another documentary about a dysfunctional tech company.) David Carroll is a Parsons School of Design professor who sued Cambridge Analytica to find the source of its data. And Brittany Kaiser is a senior Cambridge Analytica employee who defected in the scandal’s early days, revealing parts of the company’s internal workings after leaving.
The filmmakers follow Carroll and Kaiser around the globe — sweeping through places like Carroll’s home city of New York, Kaiser’s temporary hideout in Thailand, and the desert landscape of Burning Man. With supporting detail from Guardian reporter Carole Cadwalladr and former company executive Julian Wheatland, among others, The Great Hack pieces together the story of a company undone by its own amoral hubris.
Data has surpassed oil as the world’s most valuable asset. It’s being weaponized to wage cultural and political warfare. People everywhere are in a battle for control of our most intimate personal details. From award-winning filmmakers Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, THE GREAT HACK uncovers the dark world of data exploitation with astounding access to the personal journeys of key players on different sides of the explosive Cambridge Analytica/Facebook data scandal.
Academy-Award nominees Amer and Noujaim (The Square, Control Room, Startup.com) continue their tradition of exploring the seismic ripples of social media with this riveting, complex film. THE GREAT HACK forces us to question the origin of the information we consume daily. What do we give up when we tap that phone or keyboard and share ourselves in the digital age?
They took your data. Then they took control. The Great Hack uncovers the dark world of data exploitation through the compelling personal journeys of players on different sides of the explosive Cambridge Analytica/Facebook data scandal.
In select theaters and on Netflix July 24.