The 2012 Presidential campaign was a watershed moment for the use of data analytics in assisting get-out-the-vote efforts. Despite noted public opposition to the practice, both major campaigns collected a massive amount of personal information on every voter while refusing to rudimentary answer questions about what they were doing. Meanwhile, campaigns have distributed apps and games that mine your personal information, considered selling a massive database of your political views to private corporations for advertising purposes, and used optimization techniques to figure out how to get you to part with your money most frequently. With the latest efforts by NRCC, you can now add design manipulation to the list.
There’s nothing new about sleazy ads and misleading tactics – what’s new is the way they can be delivered. Campaigning online offers capabilities that officials could only dream about doing in-person: specific messages tailored to your browsing history, going deep into a social network to find people that could influence you, changing a message in real-time in response to news or developments, the ability to approach you anytime and anywhere, and an automated process for improving the ability to persuade you based on your reactions.