Thursday, February 27th


Investigative Reporter/Esther Wojcicki Lecturer Carole Cadwalladr in conversation with Prof. Mark Danner

In the most stunning case of political manipulation of the digital era, a British consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, hijacked data from a staggering 50 million Facebook accounts to sway both the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the UK Brexit vote. The unprecedented assault on personal privacy was exposed through the explosive investigative work of Carole Cadwalladr, reporter for London’s Observer and Guardian newspapers, which triggered congressional hearings and the growing public mistrust in the motives and methods of the tech sector, and which is now the subject of the critically acclaimed documentary film, “The Great Hack.”

Carole was the 2020 Esther Wojcicki Visiting Lecturer, and gave a public talk on Feb. 27 on the abuses she found–and the prospects for the next Great Hack.

© Clara Mokri (’21)

Recommended Read/Watch:

Facebook’s role in Brexit — and the threat to democracy (TED Talk, June 2019)

It’s not about privacy — it’s about power (TEDSummit 2019)

Cambridge Analytica and Facebook: The Scandal and the Fallout So Far (The New York Times, April 2018)

The Investigator (Columbia Journalism Review, Fall 2019)

About Carole Cadwalladr
Carole Cadwalladr is a journalist for the Guardian and Observer in the United Kingdom. She worked for a year with whistleblower Christopher Wylie to publish her investigation into Cambridge Analytica, which she shared with The New York Times. The investigation resulted in Mark Zuckerberg being called before Congress and Facebook losing more than $100 billion from its share price. She has also uncovered multiple crimes committed during the European referendum and evidence of Russian interference in Brexit.

Cadwalladr’s work has won a Polk Award and the Orwell Prize for political journalism, and she was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist for National Reporting in 2019 for reporting on how Facebook and other tech firms allowed the spread of misinformation and failed to protect consumer privacy, leading to Cambridge Analytica’s theft of 50 million people’s private information, data that was used to boost Donald Trump’s campaign. Upon winning a Polk Award, the New York Times stated, “The stories showed how tech companies, including Facebook, empowered hucksters and propagandists, and deceived the public to maximize profit. And our coverage had remarkable impact, reshaping public perceptions of Silicon Valley, generating calls to action from lawmakers and inspiring rare bipartisan accord in a climate of political division.”

About Mark Danner
Mark Danner is a writer and reporter who, for three decades, has written on politics and foreign affairs, focusing on war and conflict. He has covered, among many other stories, wars and political conflict in Central America, Haiti, the Balkans, Iraq and the Middle East, the story of torture during the War on Terror and the genesis and perpetuation of the Forever War on Terror. He also writes frequently on American politics, most recently the Trump campaign of 2016. He was for many years a staff writer at The New Yorker and contributes frequently to The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine and other publications.

About the Event
The Esther Wojcicki Lectureship was created in 2017 through a generous gift from Taube Philanthropies. The lectureship honors internationally renowned journalism educator Esther Wojcicki, an alumna of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and founder of the Palo Alto High School Media Arts Program, an extraordinary center that is one of the nation’s most distinguished scholastic media programs. The Wojcicki Lecturer is an outstanding journalist who exemplifies the commitment to public enlightenment through bold and eloquent reporting that Esther Wojcicki has championed throughout her career. The Wojcicki Lecturer serves a week-long residency with graduate students, consisting of master classes and seminars.

About Taube Philanthropies
For more than 30 years, Taube Philanthropies has been a leader in supporting diverse educational, research, cultural, community, and youth organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area, Poland and Israel. Founded by businessman and philanthropist Tad Taube in 1981, and now led by Tad and his wife Dianne Taube, the organization works to ensure that citizens have the freedom and opportunity for advancement of their goals and dreams. Taube Philanthropies makes this a reality by issuing grants through its two foundations, the Taube Family Foundation and the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture. For more information, visit www.taubephilanthropies.org.


Sibley Auditorium, Bechtel Engineering Center, UC Berkeley

Get directions to Sibley Auditorium, Bechtel Engineering Center, UC Berkeley


This is a FREE event.
Tax-deductible donations from the J-School community help make this possible.

No tickets required


Sam Goldman