Photo by Diego González on Unsplash

Of all people, it was Brad Parscale (Donald Trump’s 2016 digital adviser and 2020 campaign manager), who drew my attention to the fact that my understanding of television advertising was stuck in the 1950s. In his 2018 Frontline interview, Mr. Parscale defended the campaign’s use of Facebook to microtarget ads — delivering the right ad to the right person down to virtually an individual level. He downplayed the uniqueness of this targeting: “I mean, what’s addressable TV? Addressable TV is no different also. You can pick a TV commercial in this household different than the one next door.” Unfortunately, he…


Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

Amid the current uproar surrounding social media platforms’ policies towards political ads, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg continues to insist that “Ads on Facebook are already more transparent than anywhere else.” He claims that this is due to Facebook’s ad library, created following the 2016 election. “We have a political ads archive so anyone can scrutinize every ad that’s run — you can see every message, who saw it, how much was spent — something that no TV or print media does.” Unfortunately, Facebook advertising works very differently than TV or print media advertising. More unfortunately, the ad library…


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

In a hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee on 23 October 2019, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez questioned Mark Zuckerberg about Facebook’s policy not to fact-check advertisements paid for by political figures. “Could I pay to target predominantly black zip codes and advertise them the incorrect election date?” she asked. Zuckerberg said no, explaining that Facebook policies do not allow lies about how and when to vote, even if that lie comes from a political figure. Ocasio-Cortez followed up: “Would I be able to run advertisements on Facebook targeting Republicans in primaries saying that they voted for the…

Angela M

Writing on the internet, personalization, politics, conspiracy theories and the so-called ‘alt-right’. possibly also an octopus here and there

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