Everyone is collecting data on us all the time. I always assume someone is listening or watching.
My first job was digital incription. Long story, but I worked for a cryptogropher to help make ATMs possible. (Yes, there was a time before ATMs.) I had to get cleared by US intelligence to do the work. (Though I was 17, so what the hell were they going to find?)
Maybe this experience made me an untrusting person. Maybe I’m just a crazy conspiracy theorist. I have, so far, resisted online banking. I purchase as little online as possible. I use credit cards infrequently. I am not a fan of cloud storage. I am pretty careful what sites I visit. I know this makes me a dinosaur.
So, re Facebook or any platform: I think of them as tools with a built-in price, data collection. I never presume corporate benevolence. I would never put anything out online that I wouldn’t be comfortable hearing read in court. I also like doing things to fuck with the algorithm (chuckles evilly).
I did know that Facebook had the capacity to micro target advertising. I did not know the Trump campaign used this feature to dampen turnout. (Which is not the same thing in my book as voter supression. To me suppression is actively preventing people from exercising their right to vote. And there certainly is a lot of this which needs to be dealt with.)
If the ads they sent out contained false information, I believe this would be a crime. I don’t think painting the opposing candidate in an unflattering light rises to the level of a crime. Playing devil’s advocate, I wonder how we would feel if the Clinton campaign had been savy enough to use micro targeting to send out a “grab ‘em by the pussy” ad to likely Trump supporting women to discourage their turnout.
I don’t think this kind of thing is going away. I think the best strategy to combat it is exposure, calling out the ads for what they are when spotted and letting the public know they are being targeted by manipulative material.