My latest article at MercatorNet is a brief primer on the increasing significance of Facebook and other Big Data collectors in shaping our polity:
So called “dark post” Facebook ads are visible only to their targeted audience, and as a recent post promising to build a border wall “(not a fence)” shows, the Trump campaign clearly thinks these tactics worth continuing.
With all the focus on “fake news” and not trusting everything you read online, it’s disconcerting to find that people are being wilfully manipulated by online content the rest of us can’t see or scrutinise, even if we wanted to.
The danger in Facebook’s Big Data powers is epitomised in new revelations that Russian operatives used Facebook to influence American politics over a two year period, with as many as126 million Americans viewing the posts.
Facebook has refused to release the ads, but described them as focused on “divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum”, such as race relations and gun rights.