Hot Take: Cambridge Analytica
Originally Published on Medium - March 23, 2018
I am sorry people. Yes it is bad that Facebook got hacked, but to be surprised that the electorate is manipulated is to uninformed of how politics has always worked. The advent of social media has allowed data to be collected more easily, and for advertisements to be cheaper and more targeted, but it is just an enhanced version of an old problem.
How different is what Steve Bannon did than the other political campaigns in recent memory that spend billions of dollars on advertisements targeting their base. They already had targeted advertising, do you think New York Cities hipster core had a bill board for Mitt Romney? It wouldn’t have made a difference. I honestly and truly believe this is fascinating far more than an abomination.
As an aside, why are people so up in arms about 50 million Facebook accounts being hacked, where 150 million Equifax (or so) were. Because it was used to manipulate people? The manipulation was already happening, this just made it easier. Also, I don’t know how many people care, but these tactics have been used to influence elections in many other countries, this is just the first time we know it was used on US soil.
And bringing it into Canada, the underlying problem exists here too. Politicians do not care about getting voters on their side. They care about getting voters already on their side to show up. And that is why democracy is broken. The guy behind Cambridge Analytica apparently worked for the Liberals, that is not surprising. Liberalist, and the approach the political parties now use, is disgusting. It took me only a couple of instances of canvasing with them to be completely checked out. They do not go to you to try to get your support. They have enough information that they know who you are likely to vote for. They don’t waste time on Conservatives, or even non-voters, they go to likely voters. Which means for the 30% or so who don’t vote, the politicians no longer care about you at all.
This all sucks, it is all miserable, but hopefully this will start a lasting conversation around the tactics of politics. The fact that all of the political parties now care more about themselves than democracy.