- Date published:
10:49 am, July 30th, 2017 - 22 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, democracy under attack, interweb, spin, Spying - Tags: artificial intelligence, big data, cambridge analytica, democracy under attack, social media
An interesting piece on RNZ this morning, on an issue that we should all be watching out for:
Even a casual observer will probably have noticed the adverts that appear in your social media feeds and internet browsers have become increasingly personal over the last couple of years or so. … While this so-called “microtargetting” of advertising could be a welcome convenience for some, there is a disturbing element of intrusion.
Extreme examples include the voter suppression and attack ads seen in Britain’s Brexit referendum, its recent snap election, and in the US presidential election that against most expectations installed Donald Trump in the White House.
A common factor in all three of those campaigns was the winners’ use of a data analytics consultancy called Cambridge Analytica. The company boasts of its ability to harvest voter information on a large scale, much of it from social media platforms including Facebook, and to process it to construct psychological profiles. Those profiles reveal voters’ emotional triggers, which are in turn exploited in adverts served back to them, often through their social media news feeds.
While Cambridge Analytica has made recent overtures to Australian politicians, it doesn’t appear to be working with any New Zealand political parties at present.
Like it or not, this technology is going to influence which adverts and social media posts from political parties the punters will see during this year’s election campaign in New Zealand.
New Zealand political parties will be using a combination of their own data sources and analytics, and those offered by the likes of Facebook and Google, to better target ads and posts in the next two months.
Read on for comment from Labour and National, and plenty more.
The use of online voter profiling and (micro)advertisement targeting is becoming a huge factor in elections, with Cambridge Analytica front and center:
Did Cambridge Analytica influence the Brexit vote and the US election?
The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked
How Social Media and Big Data Shaped the Brexit Campaign Strategy
The Data That Turned the World Upside Down
Cambridge Analytica: Psychological manipulation for Brexit and Trump?
We’ve noted these tactics here on The Standard before:
Facebook, fake news and Donald Trump’s election
Dirty Politics 2017 style
It will be interesting to look out for any signs of such methods here in the future. The RNZ piece above closes:
The Goat Farm’s Vaughn Davis also suggested its up to voters themselves to curb the power of Facebook and other online platforms and their clients to sway elections.
“The way forward is for us as citizens of the internet, and that’s what we all are, to educate ourselves and our families that what we’re seeing through that Facebook newsfeed is curated – whether it’s by human or computer – and to understand the difference between an ad and an organic story from your friends and sometimes it’s hard to tell.
“Long term maybe this is something we need to look at as a society and say ‘well, if this is our view of the world and it’s being controlled by some publicly listed company in California, do we want some control or some transparency round that?’.”