Zeynep Tufekci tried to tell us.
She tried to tell us in November 2012, just after Barack Obama beat out Mitt Romney for a second term as president of the United States. Obama’s win was credited in part to a sophisticated online campaign that used heaps of data on millions of Americans to target digital efforts for maximum impact-something that happened out of sight of government regulators and the public eye.
She tried to tell us that this was a bad precedent.
“The scalpels, on the other hand, can be precise and effective in a quiet, un-public way,” Tufekci wrote in a New York Times op-ed. “They take persuasion into a private, invisible realm. Misleading TV ads can be countered and fact-checked. A misleading message sent in just the kind of e-mail you will open or ad you will click on remains hidden from challenge by the other campaign or the media.” Read more…