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…