Rocsteady wrote:Advertising is a soft influence, including Facebook ads. That's not to say that they dont have an impact- they clearly do, which is why almost every major corporation does online advertising - but the impact isn't necessarily any greater than using TV, radio, magazine, etc, ads would be.
Social media itself can be problematic in helping to spread conspiracy theories and malicious viewpoints but that's separate from the above viewpoint on advertising.
I don't think that's true, especially with Cambridge Analytica. They micro-targeted the ads directly at the prejudices people had. It's not like seeing an advert on TV for a chocolate bar, it's something almost tailor made for the individual.
Propaganda on Facebook also gets shared around. People are far more likely to believe something their family and friends are sharing than some advert they see in a magazine.
It's interesting. There's a growing body of evidence that micro-targeting is actually more ineffective at changing behaviour, reflected by a number of large advertisers beginning to move away from that model.
The issue from a propoganda point of view becomes one of social salience. If I see Stormfront advertising on billboards, papers, primetime TV, etc. I can be sure that others have also seen them. So, if they position themselves well as friendly and, I dunno, a low tax party, I can confidently mention to others that maybe they aren't so bad - after all, we've all seen their smiling faces and nice pledges.
If, on the other hand, they only micro target me, I have no such confidence. There's no confidence in mind that I can go to the pub with randoms and mention SF seem cool as they may well have no idea who I'm talking about, or may only know them from other things.
Targeting ads is also extremely difficult to get right and companies such as Google typically are less accurate about you than you'd think. (You can search and see your Google profile - mine has even the basics like the my age range wrong). Think about all the gooseberry fool ads you're served throughout social media - are these tightly targeted to you? The majority still rely on the same insights as CA, so they should be incredibly accurate if we think that was a deciding factor.
Social media in general is certainly problematic in this area in general, and I'm not saying advertising isn't effective - it absolutely is. Just these methods employed by various political campaigns are far from the be all and end all that some now seem to think.
(As a quick note, Obama and others were micro targeting ads long before CA - these weren't new tactics).