Category Archives: Politics

True: Social media is a threat to democracy

Underlying the furor surrounding the use of illicitly obtained Facebook data in the 2016 presidential campaign is the rise of what one expert calls “mass micro persuasion.” Campaigns are growing ever more sophisticated in sifting vast amounts of social media and voting data to tailor political messages to individuals.

Source: New concern in social media age: profiling as a threat to democracy
mass micro persuasion” – propaganda used to be messaging directed to groups to persuade all to adopt someone else’s agenda. With social media, we can direct propaganda crafted to the individual.

"Facebook is killing democracy"

Facebook is the world’s largest treasure trove of this data. Every day billions of people give the company huge amounts of information about their lives and dreams.
This isn’t a problem when the data are used ethically — like when a company shows you an ad for a pair of sunglasses you recently searched for.
However, it matters a lot when the data are used maliciously — segmenting society into disconnected echo chambers, and custom-crafting misleading messages to manipulate individuals’ opinions and actions.
That’s exactly what Facebook allowed to happen.

Source: Facebook is killing democracy with its personality profiling data – Salon.com
Think of the political propaganda posters your “friends” share into your news feed. These propaganda posters are not just innocent little posts from friends; they are typically designed by professional propagandists who are using this data to craft messages designed to hit your emotions and get you to adopt their agenda.
Seeing that FB stock is up about $3.50 today indicates the incredible power that Facebook and Mark Zuckerburg have to rule the world. In spite of all the negative publicity, their share price is now going up. FB is viewed as unstoppable. Chilling.

Who watches this crap?

Apparently way too many people:

The Nielsen company said 26 of the 40 most-watched programs on cable television last week were political shows on Fox News or MSNBC, including each weeknight telecast by Rachel Maddow, Sean Hannity and Lawrence O’Donnell.

Source: Nielsens illustrate the popularity of political shows
This is not news. It’s celebrity gossip and propaganda. Why do so many waste their time on this? Boredom?

Using psychographic profiles from lifted Facebook personal user information did not actually work

Well, there goes Facebook’s business model 🙂

“What they’re doing is bullshit, basically,” said Antonio García Martínez, a former Facebook employee who helped build the social network’s ad-targeting operation. “This has been tried before. There’s no reason to think it’s particularly powerful.”
….
And a Democratic operative who works in the digital realm said claims of Cambridge Analytica’s effectiveness in 2016 are very much overstated.
….
“The idea that they had a robust data campaign is just not true,” she said. “They were doing very best practice stuff on the Facebook side, but they weren’t doing this universally. It wasn’t deep or robust.”
She agreed with the political operatives that there is little evidence to support claims that Cambridge Analytica helped swing the election.

Source: Cambridge Analytica’s effectiveness called into question despite alleged Facebook data harvesting