Written by Eva Verlaan
Nowadays, propaganda still takes place, only in a totally different way: You don’t see the pamphlets in the newspapers or the streets, you see personalized content specially made to match your norms and values on your social media channels. Apps on which you spend an average of 1.5 hours per day, according to the NOS.
Cambridge Analytica was a company who used data to influence people, they combined data with communication strategies to win election campaigns. A new way of propaganda. Communication strategist Chris Janssen is an expert on political campaigns: ‘If you look into Cambridge Analytica, you will realize this new way of propaganda is quite scary.’ CA gets the data from personal social media accounts: ‘They get information like your age, residence and work or study. But they also obtain data which gives them more information about you as a person: what kind of content do you like? Who do you follow? For how long do you watch a clip? With all this data combined, they know exactly who you are and that is how CA can personalize and target their content specially for you.’
Cambridge Analytica helped Trump to win his campaign: ‘Project Alemo was a special project during the elections. CA and Facebook helped Donald Trump with his campaign, in fact Trump couldn’t have won without them.’ Cambridge Analytica collected data from all the inhabitants of the United States. Using that data, they could see exactly which groups they still needed to target in order to win the election: ‘They targeted democratic women by responding to their emotions with a video of children in Third World countries and promising words. Words Trump never said, it was all fake news.’
‘The future is not looking good if we are speaking about propaganda and social media. We are being directly influenced without the involvement of any trust worthy source,’ according to Chris. There is something that can improve the situation: ‘A digital passport, so we know for sure that there is a real person behind the different social media accounts and not some big organization that owns a ton of fake accounts. An organization who wants to influence our opinions by spreading fake ones, fake news.’