Ads/Stories were put in front of micro-targeted social media recipients with one of two goals.
Increase fear/anger on right so people would vote.
Increase apathy/disgust on left and with independents to discourage them from voting or to vote for a third party.
If you micro-target even the smallest group of people thousands of times, the emotional impact will lead to some percentage of success.
That small percentage may absolutely have turned the election.
I see people make that argument all the time...it’s a good sounding hypothesis...but does it actually work? Is there data that shows that this was done and that it was impactful?
That said, Given the number of voters that stayed home in 2016 (over 10% in the key states of WI, MI, OH, and PA) and the number of people who voted "against Clinton" suggests it was highly effective.
Cambridge Analytica and similar firms have a data set of how emotions can impact certain kinds of people. They have openly admitted they do this for conservative causes. Their patent company is seeded financially by some of the most conservative people with wealth and now we know they are also supported by conservative British politicians.
This is a massive conspiracy to undermine governments that are supposed to be for and by the people. This is what happens when dark money is allowed unfettered access to elections.
Democracy. Real democracy....dies.
I disagree -- I think what we saw in 2016 was democracy. We saw the effect of giving stupid people the same amount of political power as everyone else.
It's indisputable that some people are more easily gathered and led than others. We can borrow the term "network effect" to describe how these people come to wield excessive power in a democracy. But these voters don't serve their own interests. They are the players in a competition among billionaires, religious leaders, and state-level actors to see who can raise the biggest army of intellectual zombies and herd them to the polls.
At some point there will have to be a conversation about how sustainable this practice is.
Hillary spent quite a lot more than Trump and had her own army on social media called Correct the Record. I believe it's now Share Blue?
The sad thing is that modern politics is based on who can make the other guy the most hated, as this seems to drive the most votes.