Some “micro-targeting” bookmarks

A while ago, I posted something here about micro-targeting;

This has been explained in some detail here for anyone who wants a full practical understanding of what it is with a detailed case study of the way that the Tories are using it here from The Guardian. My friend Peter Geoghegan has outlined what we can call “The PAC problem” — of “unincorporated organisations” that filter money into political communications in a targeted way.

I wrote about the dangers of politics falling under the spell of such “deniable outriders” on social media a long time ago. Like “astroturfing”, and a lot of the other undetectable dark arts of politics, we need to focus on the fundamental problem here — repeating what I said last time:

Societies with a successful representative democracy have many important features in common. An ability to micro-target with different (often conflicting) messages aimed at different people without them realising how inconsistent these communications are may not be one of those features.

In 2015, in my own (very marginal) constituency, when I was out canvassing for Labour, I spoke to downcast Tory canvassers who saw little local activity in contrast to our busy, bustling over-staffed ground game.

I suspect we were both surprised when they romped home with a significant majority. This will be a big issue if the final tally of the votes and the seat-projections are significantly different to the pollsters’ forecasts.