back to article How the Facebook money funnel is shaping British elections

Britons vote for a new government on June 8 and, until recently, election campaigns have been tightly controlled affairs with limits on how much parties can spend per constituency, the requirement to submit detailed accounts and no political advertising on television. But the rules don't cover online advertising – allowing …

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5 kopeks per soul.

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Does the Electoral Commiss know how much the Russians Mercer spent on advertising on Facebook?

"It has emerged that Robert Mercer, a hedge-fund billionaire, who helped to finance the Trump campaign and who was revealed this weekend as one of the owners of the rightwing Breitbart News Network, is a long-time friend of Nigel Farage. He directed his data analytics firm to provide expert advice to the Leave campaign on how to target swing voters via Facebook - a donation of services that was not declared to the electoral commission." https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/feb/26/us-billionaire-mercer-helped-back-brexit http://www.france24.com/en/20170228-usa-mysterious-billionaire-robert-mercer-played-crucial-role-trump-brexit-victories

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another guardian article

Makes for pretty chilling reading:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/07/the-great-british-brexit-robbery-hijacked-democracy

I notice that any article that mentions Cambridge Analytica over at the Graun has a new note at the top stating:

This article is the subject of separate legal complaints on behalf of Cambridge Analytica LLC [and SCL Elections Limited, and Sophie Schmidt.]

(the "and" bit might vary across articles, but you get the gist)

While spending over campaign limits because Facebook and so on aren't covered by regulations is one thing, the use of targeted ads that use bulk, aggregated data about individuals is what's really scary. The fact that this also seems to be done outside the EU, and so isn't subject to privacy laws should be giving everyone cause for concern.

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Anonymous Coward

Of course, what you won't find in Al Grauniad is anything on how much George Soros & all the organisations funded by his Open Society Foundations (in order to obfuscate where the money comes from) spent to fund Hillary and the Remoaner side of politics. But they are left wing, so they get a pass don't they?

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It's lobbying, not mind control, love. Most people I know weren't influenced by such shadowy tactics, and made up their minds long before the campaign started. Could it be that they simply were not as enamoured as our rulers with the EU paradise we live in?

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Devil

Malicious Manipulating Megacorps.

Online Video and text should be covered by SAME rules as TV broadcasting and printed papers. It's mental they think it's not. It's only a delivery mechanism. Arguably a more dangerous one, as everyone gets the SAME thing on broadcasts and printed media. How do we even know that <party> is even making the same promises or pitch to everyone? Any online campaign MUST by law be the same for every internet user or it's a lie.

It's Google 3rd party funded orgs and lies that have got Governments in the West to treat online differently.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Malicious Manipulating Megacorps.

If I understand it correctly, the rules about neutrality that apply to broadcast media (TV/Radio) are different to those that apply to print media. Which is why the Sun/Daily Mail/Tory paper of choice can print personal attacks on Corbyn or misleading headlines about Tory policies (missing the "until after you are dead" party out of the headlines on the "dementia tax" on the front page of the Daily Mail for example).

You are right though, during an election period, all media should be bound by neutrality rules.

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"You have the advantages you get of a TV ad, the emotional engagement of a video..."

So all the usual need to skip / ignore / mute / go make a cuppa, disgust at the stupidity of the actors, advertiser and ad agency involved and the desire never to use / buy that product? On the odd occasion I'm forced to watch TV I always wonder how ad people and their clients make any money.

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FAIL

Oh just great, that's exactly what we need.

A government chosen by people who believe what they see / read on the internet without questioning it or looking for evidence from different sources to back that information up.

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Re: Oh just great, that's exactly what we need.

That's what we've always had. It's just that now the people beleive what they read on the Internet rather than what they read in the papers or see on the television or hear on the radio. Same propaganda, sames twisting of the truth, same lies - just a different media.

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whats the point

As, despite moving 4 times in my voting career, I've always ended up in a constituency where a dead body could be voted in as long as its a blue color, my vote has never been worth a damn. So no targeted ads here

I do dutifully vote, but really whats the point, the systems rigged

I once lived in a constituency where it might have mattered, but 'boundary changes' happened before I had a chance

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Anonymous Coward

I got my postal voting card to today and I'm more confused than ever.

I can't find strong and stable or Marxism anywhere on it so I'm just going to vote for Green as I quite like the colour and it is Spring.

Do I need to disable ublock and scriptsafe to understand what's going on because there is no way I am going back on Facebook? It's full of adults acting like kids showing off their pets/meals/abs, complaining about life and telling me what the weather is even though my house has windows and I can see for my f*cking self.

Back on topic, what really irks me about this is that these political parties are putting money into a company that pays no tax, which means it's really a big double f*ck you to the general population. One has to question whether the party that won't fix the tax problem will get the most help from Facebook?

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"It's full of adults acting like kids showing off their pets/meals/abs, complaining about life and telling me what the weather is even though my house has windows and I can see for my f*cking self."

People generally 'friend' their real-life friends & family on Facebook. If you don't like what they are saying then you need to ditch your family and find some new friends. Blaming Facebook because the people you surround yourself with don't meet your expectations as human beings is a bit rich!

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Anonymous Coward

"Blaming Facebook because the people you surround yourself with don't meet your expectations as human beings is a bit rich!"

Oh get you, I'm going to bring out the O Really owl for this one O.o

I'm not on Facebook though back in the day when I was I didn't surround myself with people that met my expectations they were just "Friends" and family however Facebook turned some of them into idiots.

Feel free to share this on Facebook just don't add my name. Thanks.

Edit: I upvoted you for comedy value.

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LOL at people trying to defend Facebook.

You've been well enough warned. Don't complain in the future.

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Big Brother

Facebook

The cat overlords must pay Zuckerberg a lot.

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Re: Facebook

We're more Huxley than Orwell.

the cats are the distraction for when the "Orgy Porgy" doesn't appeal to the single dames as much as the gents.

Keep em distracted, bury the real information under the tons of crap. Emotion over reason. be Afraid rather than logical. And as long as you get your Autogyro or iPhone, and all that Entertainment, you can ignore the "reservations".

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Re: Facebook

"We're more Huxley than Orwell."

Perfect* mix of both, I'd say.

* As in "worst of both worlds".

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Anonymous Coward

wow, you're only noticing it NOW?

you didn't notice the outright spam, suppression of dissent, and "trending" of candidates and causes that aligned with Zucky's favorite campaign donation recipient, and anyone allied over the last DECADE?

Funny how pointing this out over the last decade was called "paranoia" and worse. But suddenly it's The Worst Thing Evar.

Apparently as soon as "their" tools are used against them, those "tools" must be regulated, controlled, or worse. But until then, they're celebrated and promoted and defended unto death.

Waiting for the "no books are illegal" crowd to suddenly find reasons to ban "Rules For Radicals" as "fake news instruction manual" or "hate speech". Discussions of Alinsky will be "watched" and "regulated" by "algorithms" and their human masters like anything about Hitler or Mao.

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WTF?

I'm a bit surprised that...

no one has pointed out the fact that no matter what flavour of government we get after next week the same shit politicians will still occupy both sides of the house.

Seriously, May and co are horrible but anyone who believes Corbyn would be any better is a deluded idiot.

we need to purge our entire political "class" (as in class of children) and find some adults.

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Anonymous Coward

So next door neighbours with contrasting political views can be watching different adverts for the same party and both end up being convinced to vote for them. True democracy, I think.

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Anonymous Coward

Old news

Political parties send targetted messages targetted at individuals, shock horror. That's been going on since forever. The very first time I stood for election to a local council people living in village A would get a leaflet about issues in village A, people in township B would get leaflets about issues in township B, etc. The more canvass data (likely voting intention, etc) the more targetted messages you can send. People have signed your petition about the local toilet? Send 'em a letter reminding them you saved the toilet. People came to your meeting about the local park? Another letter reminding them you got the dog muck cleaned up. Targetted messages are as old as the hills.

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Issue with FB Groups "Suggested Grp ad-bar" pushing politic adverts

Whilst browsing a group you see a large Ad-column running down the right of the screen

(Even tho I have adblock turned on)

it's marked Suggested 'Groups'

In one group all 3 images are always like ADVERS for Labour/Corbyn Remain causes

I made screenshots here on https://biasedbbc.org/blog/2017/05/29/start-the-week-open-thread-127/#comment-839154

What's going on ?

#1 Entryism, first LibMob invaded this radio4 Discussn group, then they invited ONLY LibMob mates

So the group no longer represents Radio4 listeners to the full DIVERSITY LibMob say they love.

#2 The Group Suggestions bar is driven by what GROUPS other members are members of.

..... In other groups I see that ad-bar is way different .

..I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with what I post/comment on.

BTW This morning they opened 3 separate posts calling the WH interviewer of Corbyn rude ..and not really acknowledging Corbyn's own poor performance

...See how Metro-Bubbleworlds are created and grown.

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The conservative add targeting is so effective that currently every advert my 10 year old son gets on his YouTube account is for the conservative party... He just wants to watch stampy... Needless to say he won't be voting for them.

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And yet people still believe that internet advertising is worth spending money on because it is so cleverly targetted using these magic algorithm thingies.

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It ain't real money.

"election campaigns have been tightly controlled affairs with limits on how much parties can spend per constituency"

The constant barrage of harassment from Unison to vote for the loons is controlled ?

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"We are continually developing our understanding in this area"

Not very quickly, it seems.

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Unhappy

Conservatives outspent Lib Dems 55:1.

So that's how you buy an election in 2017.

Pretty cheap price for a whole country to rob.

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Re: Conservatives outspent Lib Dems 55:1.

That's not exactly hard, who on earth gives money to the Lib Dems? I'm a happy member of the Conservatives and Labour, and I even got to help choose Jeremy Corbyn (for a laugh) to see what would happen if you have a socialist lame-duck lunatic in charge of a major political party. I'll be laughing even more if he wins, more because it proves that people here are idiots, but my next move would be abroad.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Conservatives outspent Lib Dems 55:1.

"I'm a happy member of the Conservatives and Labour"

So you don't mind breaking at least one, maybe both, sets of rules of the organisations whose rules you accepted? Mind if we all piss in your champagne, even if we agreed not to?

"I even got to help choose Jeremy Corbyn (for a laugh) "

If you did vote in the leadership election, you've been lying - the rules to which you agreed (as a condition of participation) say it's Labour supporters only.

If you didn't vote in the leadership election, you're still a liar, because you just told readers that you did vote.

Well done that man.

Not that the current Tory party understands the difference between honest and dishonest, between truth and fiction. Sadly the same can be said about many Westminster politicians of various parties in recent years.

Vote early.

Vote often.

Vote anti-Tory - for the reasons robin thakur and many others have made very clear in recent years.

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Anonymous Coward

MAKE the RITE REFISION DEVISION decision uk!

You, the COUNTRY that GAVE THE WORLD SHAKSPAR are IN THE SAME BAD SITUATION as we of AMORICAA were b4 our LAST election. We had CLIMTON how is PAYD MULLIONS BY woll STREET FOR EATIMG THE PUR and we Had TRUMO who OFFEED a new start TO ,AKE AMWRICa grate AGAIN. WITHnoble and hot bAlls LADY MALARIA by HIS SIDE. We VITED ND ]{ We chose TRUNP AND EVERYTHJ G IS GOOD. YIU SHOULD also NOT choose YOUR OWN- Corbin. He will TAKE YOUR taxes and GIB THEM TO,ISISIS WHO do. Not like the FREE WORLD BEER. THERS MOAR I could say but %>{%THEY are WATCHING. with TRUMO at our holm AMERICM IS RESPEXTSD AKK over The world even France. Vote MAY nad DO FHE same Uk. She Has HOT leg. Dog leg. Don't let ISISISISI win.

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Re: MAKE the RITE REFISION DEVISION decision uk!

...huh?

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Re: MAKE the RITE REFISION DEVISION decision uk!

Upvoted, because it's so absurd it has to be parody. Doesn't it?

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Anonymous Coward

Translation: Re: MAKE the RITE REFISION DEVISION decision uk!

Make the right decision UK!

You, the country that gave the world Shakespeare, are in the same bad situation as we of America were before out last election. We had Clinton who is paid millions by Wall Street for hating (eating?) the poor and we had Trump who offered a new start to make America great again, with noble and 'hot balls' (sic) lady Melania by his side. We voted, and we chose Trump and everything is good. You should also not chose your own Corbyn. He will take your taxes and give them to Isis who do not like the free world. Beer. (sic). There's more I can say but they are watching. With Trump at our helm, America is respected all over the world, even (in) France. Vote May and do the same (for) the UK. She has hot legs. Dog leg (sic). Don't let Isis win.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Trollslation: MAKE the RITE REFISION DEVISION decision uk!

TROLL. See: DO NOT FEED THE.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Trollslation: MAKE the RITE REFISION DEVISION decision uk!

Sorry, was just trying to be helpful.

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Coat

On-line Government

Let's do away with Government and turn over all decision making to on-line polls. What could possibly go wrong ? We managed to name a boat, without too much fuss..

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Conservatives and Face-de-bouc

Conservatives are right to target Facebook's users: those ones are more prone to emotive reactions than using reason to make their choice. The less the voters think, the better for the conservatives.

"British general elections are won and lost in small numbers of marginal constituencies, roughly equivalent to US swing states"

How democratic!

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Re: Conservatives and Face-de-bouc

Sorry but if you're easily led, emotive and to be frank, rather thick, don't be surprised that unscrupulous types will try and take advantage of you from both sides of the political spectrum. It's not undemocratic if they all do it, nor is it mind control, brainwashing etc. you can just stop reading it and close your personal data harvesting...err I mean Facebook...account and live a perfectly fulfilling life. All FB and Twitter and the rest really do is make you angry at the end of the day, though not everybody will admit it.

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Big money influence..

just finds a new vehicle...

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/07/the-great-british-brexit-robbery-hijacked-democracy

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