We use social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook every single day. It allows us to interact with one another and other media actors in innovative and exciting ways.
But during the past years, social media have had a profound impact on politics.
There’s no doubt that these social media sites have played a big role in changing the political landscape. The use of social media in politics has dramatically changed the way campaigns are run and how Americans interact with their elected officials.
Candidates can now easily publish content and broadcast to millions of people, which allows campaigns to carefully manage their candidates’ images based on rich sets of analytics in real time and at almost no cost. In the following text I’m going to discuss how social media has impacted politics during this last decade, and its consequences.
Something that can be scary about social media’s role in politics is how easy rumors and fake news can occur.
Political campaigns are influenced by every story, whether it’s true or not, and gets spread around social media. It’s only getting harder to separate actual news from fake news online.
The constant stream on social media platforms of memes, links and rumors about political leaders and candidates is a mixture of truth, lies, satire and speculation.
The last but maybe most important way social media has affected politics, is targeting.
Politicians can use information or analytics about their followers on social media and make their messages aimed at specific people, based on selected demographics like age and gender.
Targeting is used in politics to make sure that ads and messages reach the right audience. If you notice that political messages seem to be speaking to you personally, it’s most likely no accident.
Something that plays a huge role in just this is Cambridge Analytica, also known as the future of political campaigns.
Cambridge Analytica can help profiling people politically, in order to understand their individual fears and to better target them with Facebook ads. They do this by illicitly harvesting the profiles of 87 million people from Facebook.
This creates a very detailed view of the voters and of the issues they care about.