Profiling for USA 2024 is already happening
On some websites, there are no innocent questions.
Here are some words to live by, as long as there are elections, and social media like today:
“If that mommy blog is jammed with ads and promotions, leave immediately. There’s a pretty good chance that the big data scandal of the 2024 Election is unfolding on your Facebook feed right now.”
That advice comes because “Something Weird Is Happening on Facebook”, and in the many thousands of websites that:
- are rarely updated, often containing no more than a few posts (when they don’t just”borrow” content from other websites, as I documented here)
- talk or host polls and memes about recipes, hobbies, lifestyle and similar, mostly politically neutral “conversation starters”
- are full of ads, but without any other visible source of income
How on Earth can those websites survive?
How can such a huge network of apparently pointless, apparently economically unsustainable websites survive?
Here is a greatly simplified version of the really interesting answer proposed by PoliticalOrphans.com.
The pages of those websites are either full of clickbait questions, or are continuously posted by fake accounts, with some clickbait question appended, on Facebook and other social media.
Overall, this creates a huge, continuous stream of answers and other comments that, since all those pages are posted on Facebook, or otherwise monitored by its software, can and wil be aggregated and analyzed together.
This would happen because, while most of the questions and comment are not inherently “political”, they still provide, when measured many times, valuable political information about voters. Consider apparently harmless questions like:
“How old are you? Where do you live? What are your entertainment tastes and how far do you live from your hometown?”
POs points out that automatic analysis of the answers to such questions “could probably predict the ‘16 and ‘20 Election preferences [of US voters] with 90%+ accuracy“.
This is why those websites exist!
In other words, what that flood of “advice”, memes, polls and what not really sells is not advertising space. It is a stream of answers and comments, in the perfect format for “building personality profiles from social media interaction, that are:”
- within the budgets of most political campaigns, and
- aimed squarely at the traits that drive political engagement, or facilitate political disinformation
This is why everyone should avoid any “innocent” poll or question on, or about, certain websites. For details and examples, see PoliticalOrphans.com.