Some regulation I’d like to see for social network ads, at least for political ads:
– Make all ads publicly viewable along with the targeting demographics. So everybody can see, for example, that a politician is pushing xenophobia to older people.
– Some kind of “fake news” score associated with a campaign. This one is difficult, but I could imagine a score based on a mixture of “fake news scoring providers” from across the ideological divide and news orgs.
The point is to give voters some transparency into what a politician is actually campaigning on.
.. On Facebook, a little ad spending goes a long way—and the more contentious the ads are, the farther they may go.Facebook Inc. disclosed last week that Russian entities spent some $150,000 for ads about “divisive” topics during a two-year period that included the U.S. presidential race.
.. the Russian-backed messages may have had outsize reach, ad buyers say, because Facebook favors ads that grab users’ attention and make them click, whether the content is political or otherwise, sensational or not.
.. In all, the Russians’ ads could have reached 3 million to 20 million or more people on the social network
.. Facebook has said little about the approximately 5,200 ads, which mostly centered on hot-button social and political issues like immigration and race relations.
.. In Facebook’s internal ad-auction system, ads compete in billions of auctions a day for slots in users’ news feeds. The system tends to reward ads that spark engagement—by getting users to click, share or otherwise spend time viewing—and sometimes it picks such ads over less-engaging ads that have a higher bid, advertisers say.
.. “When you put out an ad and Facebook sees that relative to other ads this is one is getting a lot of shares, that really seems to drive the cost down,” said Anthony Astolfi, creative director at IVC Media, who led digital advertising for Gary Johnson’s presidential campaign.
.. The day before the campaign, 32,500 Facebook users had engaged with the client’s ads. The client spent only a fraction of a penny, or 0.024 cent, for each user its ads were intended to reach. After the video launched, 55,000 users engaged, and the cost of reaching a single user dropped 30% to 0.017 cent, he said.
The ten ad tech examples featured above are one thing. But when thousands of these companies and technologies are merged across Facebook and Google data, shopping loyalty cards, rogue social quizzes, identity dumps from hacked sites, Rentrack/Comscore data (their trackers are in this set, see the full report), voting rolls, and the ad tech juggernaut outlined here (and in my 523-page report), this takes the gravitational “pull” messaging and emotional hyper-targeting to the next level.
These firms I’ve shown specialize in connecting online profiles and behavior to real purchases, shopping habits, credit profiles, and offline behavior to a real person. But only this time, it’s voting.
Domestic and international companies are being paid to identify Americanvoters in real time, and expose them to highly tailored messages at specific times, specific places, and while certain friends, family, and emotional cues (e.g., television shows or breaking news) are present. These aren’t just any other sites— these are known purveyors of propaganda, lies, hoaxes, malware, and misinformation. Where do we even begin to draw the line?
this election campaign is going to get worse — maybe a lot worse — before it gets better. By the time it’s done, the whole nation may feel like it needs a shower.
I base this depressing prediction on three assumptions: Polls showing the Obama coalition coming together behind Hillary Clinton are correct; Donald Trump does not want to be embarrassed as a massive loser; and the Republican Party cares more about keeping its majority in the House than about Trump’s tender feelings.
.. So I expect Trump to double down not just on his attacks against Clinton but also on the two issues that won him his white working-class following: immigration and trade. That means more bigotry, more xenophobia and more totally unrealistic promises about the miracles that he and his team of rich-guy economic advisers will magically perform.
.. Clinton campaign has bought time during the Olympics broadcasts for an ad in which Trump acknowledges that his Trump-branded shirts are made in Bangladesh and his neckties in China.
.. Some Republicans will be under increasing pressure, either from their constituents or their consciences, to distance themselves from Trump and perhaps even rescind their endorsements. How will Trump react to such betrayal? Surely by lashing out