Today, it is apparent that advertising’s roots in propaganda are resurfacing, we can now add the term analytics under the propaganda heading. These new and highly devious suites of techniques are becoming key to swaying hundreds of millions of people who use social media and who are unprotected from targeted advertising during their internet sessions.
Persuasion is part and parcel of advertising, but this is taking on new forms and posing as legitimate information, supplanting the role of newspapers and creeping into every available crack in the interface of internet driven data, social, and news media landscapes. As that occurs, the unwitting reader is tagged, read, tracked, ranked, categorized, sized, and mined for every bit of information during their internet sessions, and probably when they call the doctor.
At this time, I’m unaware of how analytics works with cell phone data, but if the Snowden disclosures on the NSA’s use of telephone metadata are any indication, all telcom data is also probed, recorded, and analyzed for all the potential informational wealth which is sold on to data amalgamators by the Telco providers. No form of electronic communication is exempt from this data mining and resale as far as I can tell.
It takes an effort to fight tracking, let alone learning how to avoid the exploitive uses of targeted advertising, efforts that that average non-technical user might find burdensome. Leaving the social media landscape would be unheard of by hundreds of millions of people, yet that may be the only way to curtail some of the effects of this new effort. Simply existing in the early part of the 21st century is enough, there is a placeholder for each of us in the data model. How detailed a record is maintained is the only question, some of which is governed by where you live, but in all cases, efforts to curb this trawling of data have no teeth and there are no guarantees you will be left out or overlooked, computers don’t get bored. Blocking these techniques is becoming more important as we can’t trust providers from letting us opt out.
Some reading on analytics and their impact on society:
“SCL’s main offering, first developed by its affiliated London think tank in 1989, involves gathering vast quantities of data about an audience’s values, attitudes and beliefs, identifying groups of “persuadables” and then targeting them with tailored messages. SCL began testing the technique on health and development campaigns in Britain in the early 1990s, then branched out into international political consulting and later defense contracting.”¹
Google, democracy and the truth about internet search Carole Cadwalladr, The Guardian, December 4, 2016. “The internet is among the few things that humans have built that they don’t understand.” It is “the largest experiment involving anarchy in history. “
After working for Trump’s campaign, British data firm eyes new U.S. government contracts (¹) Washington Post, , 2017.
“If a false rumor propagates via Twitter, while the truth propagates between friends in Facebook, which one will prevail? This question captures the essence of the problem we address here. ” Competing Memes Propagation on Networks: A Case Study of Composite Networks – Various.
Left + Right: The Combined Post-#Election2016 News “Ecosystem” – Jonathan Albright
The #Election2016 Macro-Propaganda Machine? Left-wing MSM vs. one Twitter account – Jonathan Albright
The #Election2016 Micro-Propaganda Machine Real Sources / Fake News – Jonathan Albright
#Election2016: Propaganda-lytics & Weaponized Shadow Tracking Propaganda-lytics – Jonathan Albright
Jonathan Albright’s recommened links are worth reading, nice to see others are thinking this through.
” Social media and the internet were once thought to be tools of democratization where everyone would have a voice. In reality, the internet is an autocracy where whoever has the most money can buy the biggest microphones.” Erin Gallagher.
Stop worrying about fake news. What comes next will be much worse Jonathan Albright, The Guardian, Dec 9, 2016
Watchdog to launch inquiry into misuse of data in politics Jamie Doward , Carole Cadwalladr and Alice Gibbs | the Guardian | Saturday 4 March 2017
Meet Silicon Valley’s Secretive Alt-Right Followers, a posting from Mother Jones which explores some aspects of the alt-right in tech, which by its nature, feeds into the propaganda machine.
“Citing two former The Trump campaign officials, Politico’s Ben Schreckinger recently reported that Trump’s campaign team privately communicated last fall with The_Donald’s most active users to seed new trends and feed catchy memes from the site back to Some Tantrum Pumpkin social-media director Dan Scavino.”
A lexicon of ALT Right jargon published in BUZZFEED.
” Meme Magic – A term for when the influence of internet memes breaks through and causes real life consequences. The day after the 2016 election, 4chan users described getting President Trump elected as an example of ‘meme magic.’ “
Tim Berners-Lee calls for tighter regulation of online political advertising Olivia Solon the Guardian, Saturday 11 March 2017
“political advertising has become a sophisticated and targeted industry, drawing on enormous pools of personal data on Facebook and Google. This means that campaigns create personalized ads for individuals – as many as 50,000 variations each day on Facebook during the 2016 US election, he said.”
The Rise of the Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine Berit Anderson, 02/2017. “There’s a new automated propaganda machine driving global politics. How it works and what it will mean for the future of democracy.”
I suggest watching the movies BRAZIL and Dr. Strangelove annually, they still have a ring of truth and are relevant today.