Does anyone seriously believe that Facebook had so much influence that it would “brainwash” a Hillary voter to go Trump? Are we all like this poor lady?
Even this poor lady is not like herself. She was just being sarcastic. And honestly, if someone’s mind was changed by the facts laid out by pro-Trump ads, that is a good thing. This is an example of effective advertising, which is a very good thing.
When the news broke about Cambridge Analytica’s clever gleaning of user data from Facebook, there was an outcry from the news media that was far different from the effusive praise for a very similar tactic employed in 2012. The reason was very clear. The 2012 actions were praised because they were conducted by Barack Obama’s campaign. The one in 2016 was by candidate Donald Trump’s campaign. Both campaigns were successful. But one gained praise by its use of internet-savvy techniques and the other gained condemnation to the point that even Mark Zuckerberg has gone on his own version of an “apology tour.” His grand mea culpa even goes so far as to agree to testify before Congress.
There are two allegations that are being pushed about this matter.
- 1. “Facebook user data was acquired”, with the insinuation that the data taken represented a compromise to Facebook’s own internal data on its users.
- 2. This data was used to manipulate users as to their political choices. This of course is a superset of the same allegation pitched against the St Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency somehow succeeding in swaying the American presidential election through the use of some 3,000 Facebook advertisements.
Both of these allegations are not only a whole lot of nothing, but they AGAIN call attention to the brain-dead, knee-jerk response of American liberals and their sycophants.
“The political establishment was angered that their own bastion of liberal ideology – Facebook itself – was successfully used as a campaign tool by a Republican candidate, and this is unforgivable in Liberal Land.”
The idea that Facebook was somehow compromised or unethical in the matter of data that developers were granted access to is nonsense. The most we can say is that it was a method of user data gathering that was hidden in plain sight. The level of deception was no more and no less than that of any other marketer or advertiser. All of us are familiar with the clever types of promotion that have evolved in the last thirty or forty years. We all know that the really great ads are the ones that don’t seem like ads at all. Think of the Super Bowl television spots. This sports event has become the event to watch for the advertisements as much or more than it is to watch the football game or its halftime entertainment program – we want to see how clever, how funny, how witty an ad is. We are usually not interested in the product the ad promotes, unless it is the latest Marvel or Star Wars movie.
But on the other side of the broadcast link, the networks are able to collect data on our patterns and use them to try to increase business, by tailoring more attractive advertising.
For Facebook, the user usually doesn’t think about anyone’s ulterior motives behind the quiz games or photo slide shows. But they are noted and they are present in some form for the user to see. And a little thinking (should it happen) would be all it takes for Joe Q Facebook User to realize that these games must serve some purpose other than gratis entertainment.
So, this means that most of us probably feel that there is no harm done if we think at all about who we are sharing what data with.
But the second part – that this data crunching helps create ads that will change people’s minds…
Well, isn’t that what advertising is SUPPOSED to do?
(Apparently not, if it swings you to vote for the conservative!)
And aren’t political ads supposed to do this too? Think of your run-of-the-mill political ad. Threatening music, ominous voice saying how awful “the other guy” is, and then light music, and positivity around the protagonist of the campaign ad? This ad style is probably the staple of political propaganda. How do they get those talking points? By asking people what they think and feel is important to them. Sometimes this is not arrived at by direct polling, either.
So, what is the problem?
In Facebook’s case, the problem seems to be more that the political establishment was angered that their own bastion of liberal ideology – Facebook itself – was successfully used as a campaign tool by a Republican candidate, and this is unforgivable in Liberal Land.
The spin is interesting because you will not see this in the expressions of companies who are withdrawing themselves from Facebook. That would be absurd. But the fact remains that there is nothing to see here in reality. Nothing happened that has never happened before, except that the GOP used the same tools and won. Had Trump not been elected, none of this would have surfaced.
But Mark Zuckerberg was asleep at the screen apparently, the GOP used his site (which is supposed to be available to everyone), and Trump won. This places Mr. Zuckerberg, a staunch Democrat and Obama supporter, even operative, directly in the cross-hairs.
The companies jumping off of Facebook are doing so in retaliation. When one looks at their own political alignments, it is quite evident that all this is meant to punish Mark Zuckerberg because in some indirect way, he let his platform be used to engineer a Trump victory.
Thankfully, not all Americans are blind to this game. Here is proof, as a caller discusses the matter with Rush Limbaugh:
RUSH: You know, I love being asked my impression of observations, so go ahead.
CALLER: Okay. Now that Mark Zuckerberg has been summoned to appear in front of Congress, for one, I don’t think he’ll do it. I think he will weasel his way out no matter how he has to. But if they get him in the seat, I think that America will be treated to something observationally that will last a very long time. I think we will see this kid break down in tears and possibly wet his pants and have to go to a recess and cut the cameras off, because this Mark Zuckerberg is in deep water that he cannot handle.
RUSH: Okay. Why is Zuckerberg in deep water?
CALLER: Because Zuckerberg sold his soul to President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
RUSH: Right! Which is why he’s gonna be protected!
CALLER: In front of Congress? There’s no —
RUSH: Do you really —
CALLER: There’s no protection.
RUSH: You really think the Republicans are gonna come down hard on this guy?
CALLER: I just… I don’t even think they need to come down on him. What if the first senator or first congressman says to him, “Uh, tell us exactly what you gave Obama. Did you open your books to him?” (chuckles) You know, and if he says, “Yes,” then they should say, “Okay, your company is a fraud.”
RUSH: Look, I don’t think that’s gonna happen. I wish it would. You know, if I were a pretend senator for the day and I was on the committee interrogating Zuckerberg, I would say, “Mr. Zuckerberg, I’m having trouble understanding why you’re even here. ‘Cause back in 2008 all the way to 2011, you helped — and practically saw to it — that the Obama campaign got every bit of data on every user you’ve got.
“And they were called geniuses, and you were too. And now some outfit came along and found a way to get 50 million of your users’ data, and we want to throw you in jail. Mr. Zuckerberg, I don’t understand why you’re here. What did you do wrong?” You know, I’d ask it in a certain way. But I don’t know how hard the Republicans are gonna be. Time will tell. But if Zuckerberg wet his pants, Fred, how would you know?
Not everyone in the USA is a zombie to the mainstream media. That is good news.