Is Big Data & Hyper-Targeting the new Atomic Bomb of Politics?

A friend recently posted an article on Facebook that provides a possible insight on the recent shock vote on Brexit and the election of President Trump in the US.

It’s a fasicinating discussion on the use of hyper-targeting and extreme profiling to deliver highly-tailored messages to influence voters. You can read it here -

The Data That Turn The World Upside Down

Hyper-targeting

However I don’t think the ideas in the article are revolutionary, more they are evolutionary. I remember reading a few years back of a husband and wife marketing team who used to target each other with adverts on Facebook that narrowed the targeting criteria to the point where the adverts would only appear to one person (their spouse). There’s also a blog post here of someone targeting their roommate in much the same way. Admittedly these examples involved hand-crafted adverts with hyper-targeting, but it’s only a small step from there to auto-create highly-tailored, hyper-targeted adverts specifically for very precise groups that you could then use to influence voters.

Like I said evolution, not revolution.

Extreme-profiling

What makes this different, and probably raises it’s effectiveness by orders of magnitude, is the ability we now have to profile people very precisely using big data, so we can deliver exactly the right message, at the right time, to them personally.

Is this new? No, politicians have always use PR and marketing to get themselves elected. This is simply the next step in the evolution of that marketing effect. What may shock people, is this is the first time that Big Data has been used to such devastating effect in a set of political elections to over turn an expected result. The UK was supposed to vote to remain in the EU, and Hillary Clinton was supposed to beat Donald Trump. Neither vote worked out as expected.

What happens now?

Anyway, the genie is now out of the bottle, and if this really was one of the influencing factors you can expect to see it being used widely from here on in.

As they say with great power comes great responsibility. How will people use this power, and how how will their opposition counter it? Time will tell.


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“The only thing that remains unsolved is the resolution of the problem” — Thomas Wells