Wired: How Trump Conquered Facebook—Without Russian Ads. “….From this worldview, it’s still not clear how much influence the [Internet Research Agency] had with its Facebook ads… But no matter how you look at them, Russia’s Facebook ads were almost certainly less consequential than the Trump campaign’s mastery of two critical parts of the Facebook advertising infrastructure: The ads auction, and a benign-sounding but actually Orwellian product called Custom Audiences (and its diabolical little brother, Lookalike Audiences). Both of which sound incredibly dull, until you realize that the fate of our 242-year-old experiment in democracy once depended on them, and surely will again.”
Ubergizmo: Honda To Use Targeted Facebook Videos To Encourage Repairs. “As you might have heard, a couple of years ago there was an issue with the Takata airbags installed in certain brands of cars, such as Toyota, Honda, and Nissan, in which they were forced to recall vehicles that have been outfitted with the airbags. Now clearly with such a dangerous defect, customers should send their vehicles in to get it looked at right away, right? Perhaps some customers have been too busy, or maybe some believe that it will never happen to them, but regardless what the reason is, there’s a good chance that there are still quite a few vehicles out there that have yet to be recalled/fixed, but Honda has a solution: the company has recently announced that they plan to use Facebook’s targeted videos to try and seek out Honda owners to encourage them to take their vehicles in for a repair.”
Eurekalert: Can social media users prevent use of online information to characterize and target them?. “A new study examines how organizations use information people disclose on social network sites (SNS) to predict their personal characteristics and whether SNS users can successfully block certain information (and how much) to better protect their privacy. A novel analytical tool called a ‘cloaking device’ to prevent the use of specific information and how effective it may be are discussed in an article in Big Data, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Big Data website.”
Advertising Age: Snapchat Filters Ads Now Target People — Not Just Places. “Brands can now apply more-advanced targeting tools to Snapchat photo filter campaigns, enabling them to reach select audiences and experiment more with the creative messaging, the company says.”
The Telegraph: How just one Facebook ‘like’ can be used to influence behaviour with targeted adverts. “Researchers used ‘mass psychological persuasion’ in an online ad campaign that saw sales rise by more than 50 percent. In an experiment that targeted 3.5 million people, the academics used just a single Facebook ‘like’ for each user to glean a psychological trait – whether they were introverted or extroverted. This characteristic was then used to tailor an ad for each consumer in an effort to influence them.”
New York Times: How Facebook’s Oracular Algorithm Determines the Fates of Start-Ups. “In 2017, everyone seems to be wondering: Is Facebook taking over the world? Most of us now realize that the social network has become far more than a repository for selfies and political rants of its more than two billion users. To ad sellers, Facebook is now a gluttonous monster, which, along with Google, is gobbling up the digital advertising business in the United States; according to Pivotal Research Group, the two companies controlled 70 percent of the market and most of the growth in 2016. From the perspective of American intelligence agencies, Facebook is practically a weapon, used by a company linked to the Kremlin to foment extremism and influence the 2016 presidential election with at least $100,000 worth of targeted ads.”
BuzzFeed: Here’s How Labour Ran An Under-The-Radar Dark Ads Campaign During The General Election. “During the general election campaign the media focused on how the Conservatives’ Facebook advertising could swing key seats – but Labour campaign sources have revealed to BuzzFeed News how they spent £1.2 million on a similar strategy using in-house software.” I am adding this not because I want ResearchBuzz to be political, but because I want you to be aware of the non-transparent things that are being done on social media to influence voters.