back to article Euro eggheads call it: Facebook political ads do change voters' minds – and they worked rather well for Trump in 2016

Not long after the US presidential election in November 2016, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said it was "crazy" to think that Facebook ads swayed the vote. He was right, but only for supporters of Hillary Clinton. The big Z subsequently backtracked and apologized for dismissing the idea, not long after his antisocial network …

  1. onefang Silver badge

    "undermine confidence in democratic institutions"

    The politicians do that rather well all by themselves.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      With help from the press right here

      And writers who only notice when the side they back loses help as well. Why id the Reg choose all their US writers all in the furthest Left city in the US both geographically and politically? And not exactly the best run by those leftists as the poop and needles in the streets would indicate (which was even mentioned here),

      Poor spending choices by the left - even failure to campaign in some states that they thought they had in the bag...even though they spent nearly 3x the total money could possibly have had an effect? Calling half the electorate ignorant deplorables surely helped set their attitude...

      But it has to be someone else's fault - the calling card idea of the progressive left, it's never on them.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: With help from the press right here

        Because Silicon Valley is where the bulk of the tech companies are, you dolt! Only a hyper partisan would decide that where a tech web site chooses to locate its US journalists is part of a vast left wing conspiracy...

        Here's another conspiracy for you: Vogue's writers are mostly based in Paris, Milan and NYC.

        1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

          Re: With help from the press right here

          "Here's another conspiracy for you: Trump colluded with Russia."

          Oh, wait: lefties and the mainstream don't believe in conspiracies..

      2. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

        Re: With help from the press right here

        Also, I assume you are educated in the US since only an American can manage to forget that San Fransisco is by far from the furthest West, what with the existence of two entire states being firmly to the west of the Bay Area. And even if you disregard both Alaska and Hawaii; Portland, OR and Seattle, WA are both a full degree west of San Francisco.

    2. Sir Loin Of Beef

      The US doesn't have confidence in democracy, so why should anybody else?

      1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        "The US doesn't have confidence in democracy, so why should anybody else?"

        True that: Remainians, Clinton supporters, the EU and Antifa have certainly given up on democracy.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Idiocracy

    This seems to be saying that elections are won by whoever appeals to the dumb people the best.

    1. malle-herbert Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Idiocracy

      Somehow i am "not sure"...

    2. Daniel Garcia 2

      Re: Idiocracy

      Next, they would start talking about bears and the Pope.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Idiocracy

      This seems to be saying that elections are won by whoever appeals to the dumb people the best.

      I think you mean whoever gets the idiots so incensed that they go and vote.

      1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Idiocracy

        "I think you mean whoever gets the idiots so incensed that they go and vote."

        Yes, whereas the other side get their idiots so incensed, they go on long marches, bang drums, blow whistles, trip fire alarms, push and shove, scream and shout... and forget to vote...

    4. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: Idiocracy

      Seems very much like the "target the Sun and Daily Wail reader" demographic approach - but updated for the online age.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Idiocracy

      My thoughts exactly. All this article shows is "people don't think for themselves".

      Larry Sharpe for New York!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Divide and Conquer

    A very interesting paper.

    Thanks to social networks the science of advertising has new channels by which it can drive peoples baser instincts into buying into a product/idea or political ideology.

    It would be interesting to see something around those baser instincts, whether fear can really conquer any other emotion, and whether using fear is the only way to divide/unite society .

    The Russians certainly seem to be doing the divide bit really well these days.

    1. XSV1
      Big Brother

      Re: Divide and Conquer

      You're either with us, or against us

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You%27re_either_with_us,_or_against_us

  4. TheTick

    Gosh

    So advertising your opinion in a free speech society works?

    And the Democrats/Remoaners tried the same but it didn't work?

    Maybe that's because the Trump/Brexit messages were actually better, more persuasive arguments?

    Oh no it's because we're all easily influenced thickos isn't it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: GoshOh no it's because we're all easily influenced thickos isn't it.

      If youre a Merican, the answer is yes

    2. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: Gosh

      There is a difference between 'advertising your opinion' and making 'better, more persuasive arguments'. It's just that some people aren't aware of the difference and so are easily influenced.

      1. MiguelC Silver badge

        Re: Gosh

        More likely it's a case of the one who lies the best gets the vote

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: Gosh

          More likely it's a case of the one who lies the best gets the vote

          It might help if the majority of voters didn't seem to have worse memories than the proverbial goldfish.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Gosh

            One of the more interesting aspects that isn't commented on much is why the generation that voted to stay in the last time largely voted to leave this time. One possibility is that it is because they do have long memories, and recall how many of the promises, commitments and statements about what the EEC was and would become were considerably less than precisely accurate, and were of the opinion that a similar level of accuracy was liable to be coming from the pro EU camp this time round.

            1. Teiwaz Silver badge

              Re: Gosh

              One of the more interesting aspects that isn't commented on much is why the generation that voted to stay in the last time largely voted to leave this time. One possibility is that it is because they do have long memories

              Another possibility is too many years reading the same newspapers and buying into the 'EU wants to get rid of the british sausage/pint/banana' rhetoric.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Gosh

              "One possibility is that it is because they do have long memories, and recall how many of the promises, commitments and statements about what the EEC was and would become were considerably less than precisely accurate"

              Nearly there. I wasn't old enough to vote in the 1st ref but I was already aware the UK public were being lied to from the start about what they were joining. A lie about trade and only trade every UK gov since ran with. A lie of omission setting up for epic failure.

    3. Spazturtle Silver badge

      Re: Gosh

      Yeah this seams largely like a non-issue. "Politicians whose messages reaches potential voters are more likely to get elected", whoa what a stunning revelation.

    4. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Gosh

      Oh no it's because we're all easily influenced thickos isn't it.

      I'm sorry, do I upvote you for admitting the influence of outrageous liars and charlatans or downvote you for being one.

    5. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Gosh

      And the Democrats/Remoaners tried the same but it didn't work?

      If my 5 year old came out with the word "remoaners" in that context, I'd congratulate him on his clever manipulation of words, but when he leaves the room, tell my wife that I'm concerned about his mental ability.

      Maybe that's because the Trump/Brexit messages were actually better, more persuasive arguments?

      Oh no it's because we're all easily influenced thickos isn't it.

      There you go! You got it in the end!

      1. TheTick

        Re: Gosh

        Depressingly predictable replies on the whole.

        You guys keep thinking you're the clever ones despite wanting to stick to an avowedly anti-democratic and anti-human rights EU with no hope of reform.

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Because the EU is set in stone and nothing can ever change, right ?

          Oh wait, the UK is leaving the EU. Looks like things change after all.

          You might need to review your opinion on this . . . um, never mind. Won't happen.

          1. TheTick

            "Because the EU is set in stone and nothing can ever change, right "

            Oh it changes all right, no doubt about that!

            But in what direction? Towards Freedom, Liberty & Democracy...or the other way? Clearly the other way.

            Perhaps you who should review your opinion - or does that go against your allegiance to the New Rome?

            1. HaakonKL
              Pint

              Considering that it's the UK and not the EU who's sporting "Knife surrender bins", I'd say you should not be throwing rocks in glass houses and all that.

            2. HaakonKL
              Trollface

              Considering that it's the UK and not the EU who's sporting "Knife surrender bins", I'd say you should not be throwing rocks in glass houses and all that.

              1. TheTick

                All while the UK is still in the EU and subject to EU rules with it's free movement of Kalashnikovs.

                I think I'll throw all the rocks I like thanks :)

                1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

                  @The Tick

                  Ahhhh, typical ignorant response from a brexitter.

                  "The Tick", you posted so many easily demonstrative lies, I don't know where to start.

                  You guys keep thinking you're the clever ones despite wanting to stick to an avowedly anti-democratic and anti-human rights EU with no hope of reform.

                  Anti-democratic? All the MEPs are voted in democratically.

                  You mean "anti-democratic for the UK"? Well, there are 73 British MEPs - all voted for by us.

                  Are there more non-UK MEPs in total than UK MEPs? Of course. If you think that is undemocratic, then Wales isn't in a democracy because there are less Welsh MPs than non-Welsh MPs.... Gettit?

                  And yes, a lot of work is done by unelected civil servants..... Just as it is in the UK - Do you really think everyone that works for government has been voted for? UK civil servants are employees.

                  "human-rights" - Most of the recent significant rules improving human rights have come from the EU, not the UK. In fact, the UK challenged the EU's complaint that the government was doing groundless slurping of UK citizens data.

                  All while the UK is still in the EU and subject to EU rules with it's free movement of Kalashnikovs.

                  Firstly, "freedom of movement" doesn't mean "freedom from checks". Unless you are implying that the EU mandates than anyone can cross borders carrying Kalashnikovs - without passport control stopping them, then I assume you are refering to the Schengen Area (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Area) which allows unchecked movement across borders.

                  The UK IS NOT part of the Schengen agreement

                  We do NOT have to have open borders (Ireland is our choice)

                  Why the hell do you think immigrants try to smuggle themselves into lorries, or sneak through the channel tunnel if we have unrestricted open borders?

                  Now, we *are* subject to free movement rules for Europeans (free movement DOES NOT mean no border checks) but as an aside, if you're worried about "Europeans sponging off our benefits", I assume you don't know that if a foreign EU citizen can't financially sustain themselves after 3 months, the UK can legally deport them.

                  From DIRECTIVE 2004/38/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL, sub-paragraph 9 (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:32004L0038)

                  (9) Union citizens should have the right of residence in the host Member State for a period not exceeding three months without being subject to any conditions or any formalities other than the requirement to hold a valid identity card or passport, without prejudice to a more favourable treatment applicable to job-seekers as recognised by the case-law of the Court of Justice."

                  The fact the UK hasn't acted on this is entirely due to the UK government, not the EU.

                  FINALLY...

                  That's 4 or 5 complete untruths in just 2 posts of yours.

                  I have to asume you are down right lying, as whilst being wrong or being misinformed or being ignorant would be tolerable in many situations, you obviously made sure you were well aware of the facts before voting, right?

                  1. TheTick

                    Re: @The Tick

                    Seems you got a little riled there Mr Jones :)

                    Anti-Democratic:

                    - Ireland votes against Nice - made to vote again until "right" answer given

                    - Ireland votes against Lisbon - made to vote again until "right" answer given

                    - France and the Netherlands vote against the "EU Constitution" - "EU Constitution" scribbled out and "Lisbon Treaty" written there instead - gets passed without having to consult the grubby masses because it's just a "treaty" now

                    - Greek PM Papandreou says he will have a referendum on the EU deal - immediately deposed and unelected technocrat put in place by the EU

                    - Italian PM Berlusconi "Forced out by EU plot" - replaced with unelected technocrat

                    - (and the one that made me first think the EU was going rotten) Austria elected Jorg Haider into the government in some respect - EU implements sanctions against Austria because they elected someone the EU doesn't like. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2000/sep/12/austria.ianblack

                    Yes - very very anti-democratic. I'm sure that list barely scratches the surface.

                    Human rights: I suggest you take a long, hard look at the European Convention on Humans Rights, here's the link:

                    https://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Convention_ENG.pdf

                    Take special care to read articles 9, 10 & 11 specifically the second paragraphs on each. If you still think we have human rights after reading that then there's no hope for you.

                    The Kalashnikov thing was a bit of sarcastic fun - surprised you took it so seriously lol.

                    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

                      Re: @The Tick

                      "A little riled"? Sure did!. It sure angers me to see our country being flushed down the toilet, especially when the reasons for it are untrue.

                      Stlll, it motivates me to spread the word even more, so cheers for that!

                      Time and time again, governments (of all flavours) have blamed 'the EU" for all that goes wrong, when it reality it has nothing to do with the EU.

                      You really think Rees-Mogg, boris and trump have the UK's best interest at heart?

                      You realise the US will only allow trade on their standards?

                      Me? I don't plan on eating maggots (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/food-standards-brexit-uk-us-trade-deal-maggots-rat-hair-worms-insects-mould-products-a8575721.html) any time soon

                      For example, US producers are allowed to include up to 30 insect fragments in a 100g jar of peanut butter; as well as 11 rodent hairs in a 25g container of paprika; or 3mg of mammalian excreta (typically rat or mouse excrement) per each pound of ginger.

                      In the EU there are no allowable limits for foreign bodies in food products.

                      By the way, you seem to assume I think the EU is perfect. Nothing could be further from the truth, but we can affect change when we're in, rather than bow out like wimps.

                      Again, the MEPs are voted for. Any shit they get up to is therefore the responsibility of the voters. If they are undemocratic, then the UK government is too.

                      Anyway, this isn't some romantic idea of being in some buddies club - the dilusion is on the leavers side, who seem to think that everything will magically come better. I mean, we can even stop the EU making it rain all the time, and making England crap at football!

                      The issue is economic, and political. There are loads of articles out there showing the problems and costs we will incur (we *WILL* be poorer, period). There are far more good laws for us from the EU than the UK regarding our personal rights (which the UK have been trying to erode for years)

                      https://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Convention_ENG.pdf

                      Take special care to read articles 9, 10 & 11 specifically the second paragraphs on each. If you still think we have human rights after reading that then there's no hope for you.

                      I guess there's no hope for me then. I did read it, and whilst there were some bits that could be taken badly, on the whole they are common sense.

                      Anyway, not bad, only 3 small subparagraphs in a document so large, but I'm saving the real zingers for last:

                      1) The declaration of human rights has NOTHING to do with the EU.

                      2) It was mostly written by the BRITISH.

                      Plenty of links to help you here: Is the ECHR part of the EU/

                      So... "oops"

                      What I was referring to are the things that the EU are actually responsible for - polution-less beaches and seas, workers rights (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/brexit-latest-news-10-ways-eu-protects-british-workers-rights-in-danger-european-union-a7531366.html), anti-snooping laws, and so on.. Just google it, and compare against what the UK has done (despite mass dragnet snooping operations)

                      The Kalashnikov thing was a bit of sarcastic fun - surprised you took it so seriously lol.

                      My comment implying someone strolling through customs with a Kalashnokov was returned with just as much sarcasm. However, your key underlining point was meant seriously, and was not based in truth. Hence the reply.

                      Still, at least you bothered to reply, unlike the other spineless chumps who downvoted without saying why.. I guess the truth hurt their feelings.

                      I'm out of this thread now. It's sad that you voted for something when you are so uninformed on what you actually voted for.

                      I've posted enough facts and debunked most of your points, that any future posts would just be pissing contests, and I've no time for that.

                      No-one here is going to change anyone elses mind.. it's become a religious war.

                      </this-thread-exit>

                      1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge
                        Pint

                        Re: @The Tick

                        " It sure angers me to see our country being flushed down the toilet,"

                        So what you're saying is: countries that aren't part of the EU are "shit hole" countries?

                      2. TheTick

                        Re: @The Tick

                        @Jamie Jones

                        I know you will keep looking at this thread, don't pretend you've left just so you have the last word.

                        I see zero refutation of the list of anti-democratic EU activities in your long rant. Anti-democratic confirmed then.

                        The ECHR is indeed not directly a part of the EU - but ALL EU countries have signed up to it. Anti-human rights confirmed.

                        (As - if you didn't realise it - the ECHR specifically permits governments to write laws that violate human rights. In contrast to the 1st amendment of the US which states "Congress shall make no law").

                        Hence we now have "hate speech" laws and hundreds of people now get arrested and charged and fouind guilty of simply offending people.

                        We will still have those problems after Brexit of course. But now we only have our scumbag politicians to bring into line rather than an entire continent.

                  2. Nial

                    Re: @The Tick

                    "Ahhhh, typical ignorant response from a brexitter"

                    "The Tick", you posted so many easily demonstrative lies, I don't know where to start.

                    Then a lot of rambling that doesn't actually refute any of the points.

                    Good one!

                  3. Clunking Fist Bronze badge
                    FAIL

                    Re: @The Tick

                    "Anti-democratic? All the MEPs are voted in democratically."

                    Crickey: you think they have a real say? You haven't been paying attention... LOLZ as they say

                    Who was your choice in the Presidential election? Who was your choice in the OTHER Presidential election? I.e. the vote for the President of the European Council or the European Commission? Did you vote for ANY of the European Commissioners? And did you vote in favour of the new EU Constitution when you were given the chance? (Okay, Jamie Jones, you may be French Irish or Dutch, in which case you DID get a chance to have your say. But you were overruled anyway for giving the wrong answer.)

                    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                      Re: @The Tick

                      "Who was your choice in the Presidential election?"

                      And where did you get the chance to vote for the Prime Minister?

                    2. Clancolin

                      Re: @The Tick

                      Democracy in the UK? My MP has a 17,500 majority and his party has been in power in this county for decades. I can vote until I'm blue in the face and it won't make one jot of difference. I write to him about concerns and his reply is always a variation on "Our Party is undoing the evil done by the other Party, so we can't do what you ask." DECADES of this, I've had. Democracfy my backside...

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              lots of capitals in mid sentence there

              The European Union is the best thing to happen to Europe since the fall of the Holy Roman Empire. I am coming around to the opinion that in 10 years time we may view Brexit as the best thing to happen to the EU. Previously the theory was that it was better to have the UK inside the tent pissing out than outside pissing in. The UK turned around on that and all we can hope is that they stay in their little tent and let the EU continue to bring wealth and human rights to all those under an increasingly bigger one.

              1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

                Re: lots of capitals in mid sentence there

                The UK turned around on that and all we can hope is that they stay in their little tent and let the EU continue to bring wealth and human rights to all those under an increasingly bigger one.

                Dear anonymous, whilst your opinion of the EU is accurate, and the UK leaving is stupid, the fact is that nearly half of the UK wanted to remain, and now more than half want to remain, and the vast majority of El Reg commentators want to remain.

                So the rest of your snide comment simply shows that you are the sort of obnoxious prick that the brexitters use as an example to denigrate all Europeans

                1. HolySchmoley

                  Re: lots of capitals in mid sentence there

                  >So the rest of your snide comment simply shows that you are the sort of obnoxious prick that

                  Do only obnoxious pricks describe others as obnoxious pricks?

                2. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

                  Re: lots of capitals in mid sentence there

                  "and now more than half want to remain,"

                  Lolz, that'll be the same polls that predicted a Clinton landslide and a Remain vote then?

    6. veti Silver badge

      Re: Gosh

      This isn't about "advertising your opinion". If that was what people were doing, we wouldn't be talking about it.

      It's about ads carefully designed and directed to create a false impression of facts. Not opinions.

      Of course you can reasonably retort that the press does that all the time, and that's a whole separate argument we can have. But first let's recognise what's happening here: the ads are not about argument or persuasion, they're not even about spin or slant - they're straight-up lying.

      1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Gosh

        "the ads are not about argument or persuasion, they're not even about spin or slant - they're straight-up lying."

        Have you seen the ads, have you? Have you got links: I'd be interested to see them. Thank you

        <doesn't hold breath>

  5. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Hot Oven

    Platforms that track you and your messages and try to match you up to advertising that may be more likely to appeal.

    More than likely a post or a like one way or another, and the resulting heat of an active advertising campaign suddenly gets turned on you.

    People get their own type of view focused back on them. From then on, the user is more likely to get ads in the direction of that even just slight leaning than any other perspective.

    It's be almost perfect as an voluntary extremist brainwashing service.

    1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

      Re: Hot Oven

      "It's be almost perfect as an voluntary extremist brainwashing service"

      What? A gender studies course?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Democrats only have themselves to blame

    Of all the candidates, Bernie Sanders probably attracted the most voters via social media (young, left leaning, progressive etc). Pity Hillary and her hench people conspired to steal the nomination from him at the convention!

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Democrats only have themselves to blame

      I actually agree with that. Trump has so many skeletons in his closet that taking him down should have been a crapshoot .

      Attack ads like "Do you really want a failure for President ?", referring to his many bankruptcies, or "Would you want your daughter in the same room ?" referring to his pussy-grabbing, I mean, there is a wealth of things to attack him about, and I heard nothing about any of that.

      You reap what you sow, and when you don't sow anything, you reap a big fat failure.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Democrats only have themselves to blame

        Course your not going to hear anything about that, fake news plus I'm pretty sure some of these candidates make secret deals not to expose certain career ending things on each other.

      2. Flatpackhamster

        Re: Democrats only have themselves to blame

        Interestingly the 'bankruptcy' line didn't work on voters. To the 'privileged set' (wealthy centre-left Clinton supporters) bankruptcy is a thing of disgrace but it wasn't seen that way by people further down the financial and social scale. The reason is that people saw him as more like them, because they felt that things had gone wrong for him and he'd bounced back from that.

        The pussy grabbing didn't work either, because the name CLINTON has a fair amount of pussy-grabbing associated with it.

        1. Robert 22

          Re: Democrats only have themselves to blame

          The Trump bankruptcies were mostly structured so that it was other people's money that was lost. But I guess this does make him a good businessman.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Democrats only have themselves to blame

            @Robert 22:

            ".....it was other people's money that was lost."

            Does that make Trump a socialist?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Democrats only have themselves to blame

        Democrats did reap the popular vote, just as they have in all but one of the previous 6 presidential elections, so there's that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Democrats only have themselves to blame

      Bernie Sanders wasn't a Democrat, he just Assanged himself into the party, horked up their resources, and savaged it in exchange. The Democratic Party's big mistake was letting this ingrate huxster vie for the party nomination in the first place.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Which is which?

    So slap me round the face with a wet kipper, advertising your PoV helps motivate your supporters to turn out and vote.

    No stats on how many floaters the adverts actually persuaded to make up their minds.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Which is which?

      > No stats on how many floaters the adverts actually persuaded to make up their minds.

      Did you miss the part where stats were given, or was it just too hard for you to comprehend?

  8. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    It's the emotions, stupid!

    Mainstream politicians have left the field open to the populists. Particularly since the financial crisis they've largely communicated a politics of inevitability with everyone required to make sacrifices to turn things round. This has been followed by self-gratulatory backslapping when companies start making record profits again in markedly less competitive markets. Yet all the time wages for many people have stagnated or even declined in real terms. This has made it easy for populists to identify and inflame resentment, find scapegoats and propose simple "common sense" solutions designed to appeal to the emotions and fitting in well with the echo chambers of social media. US elections with comparatively low turnouts of around 50% of eligible voters are particularly susceptible to changes in turnout.

    The article, however, ignored the role of the PACs (Political Action Committees) in spending on political adverts. These are now, by far, the dominant players in US elections and have, since the Tea Party and before, been focussing on single issues for specific groups (immigration, abortion, healthcare, guns, etc.).

    There is, however, perhaps a silver lining: in the US since 2016 those suburban, college-educated women have entered politics in droves.

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: It's the emotions, stupid!

      Get corporate money out of US politics: http://www.wolf-pac.com/

  9. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Well, glad somebody's cottoned on

    Whoever it is is still at it though.

  10. Tuesday Is Soylent Green Day

    Trump was elected...

    because the alternative was a thousand times worse.....

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Trump was elected...

      because a lot of people thought he was going to shake up the political arena and 'drain the swamp'

      ..

      What they got was merely a water-hazard at home and a 'danger to shipping' abroad...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Trump was elected...

        Trump just jumped in a JCB and started heaving more sludge into the swamp

    2. Mycho Silver badge

      Re: Trump was elected...

      Trump was elected because the reality of most of the anglosphere's politics is that you have to choose between two candidates.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Trump was elected...

      because the alternative was a thousand times worse.....

      And that, everybody, the power of emotion. When forced to choose between rich, establishment New Yorkers, both with histories of dodgy financial dealings, people had to invent reasons for preferring one over the other.

  11. Gene Cash Silver badge

    People are REALLY stupid

    I was chatting with some people standing in line at a restaurant, and I joked that it was possible to vote for Clinton by Twitter.

    They thought I was serious and thanked me for the information.

    At which point, I shut up in amazement. I guess I'm a Russian troll now!

  12. DougS Silver badge

    Sample size of 1

    I don't think we can conclude that Facebook targeting only works to turn out Trump voters because it worked for him in 2016 and didn't work for Hillary. It is always easier to get people to come out and vote for "change", and replacing Obama with Hillary wasn't going to change much. It may well be the reverse is true in 2020, when voting for the democrat will be a vote for change and voting for Trump will be a vote for the status quo.

    I never really understood how someone could go from voting for Obama to voting for Trump until I talked to my uncle about this back in May. He's a resident of rural Kansas (very red state) and mostly retired farmer (very red profession) who voted for Obama, then voted for Trump in 2016. I was surprised he'd voted for Obama previously, and even more surprised that his reasoning in voting for Trump was the same as his reasoning in voting for Obama: "I thought he'd wreck the place up!" If that's not a vote for "change", I don't know what is :)

    1. Jay Lenovo Silver badge

      Re: Sample size of 1

      One of the reasons why traditionally, mid-terms go the way of the opposite party in power.

      When the power brokers in government get too comfortable, corruption breeds.

    2. Claptrap314 Bronze badge

      Re: Sample size of 1

      Might want to fact check that a bit. Kansas is pretty R for president, yes. But they regularly have Ds for governor. A lot of the union organizing of farmers in the 19th century still has is impact.

      Yeah, I grew up there.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Sample size of 1

        Well he's nowhere near Kansas City or any of the other big cities, so very very red where he is.

  13. Simon B-52

    Mostly Off Topic....stuffed either way

    Most comments on here seem to concern the releative merits of staying or leaving the EU. Which wasn't what the article was about AT ALL. It was about the effectiveness of Facebook advertising, which clearly works very well indeed.

    For the record, I can't decide which I regard as the bigger bunch of crooks, the EU, or UK Government. I think we're probably stuffed either way, so to put it bluntly, YOU CAN ALL F**K RIGHT OFF.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    or....

    Or we might just be sick of the free sale of our country by liberals and the older/conservative generations are finally putting their foot down (squarely on the ass of libs).

    8 years of O was enough to convince even my generation (Pepsi Gen) to get off our butts and vote. 2016 was the first time in my life I felt "compelled" to stand up for my values because it was so obvious if I didn't the next liberal administration was going to perform a "finishing move" on the country I love.

    Honestly, I don't know if facebook had much of an influence or not, but I can tell you it wasn't influencing me and I plan on voting straight R's in the next 22 days too, because I WILL NOT allow Dems to undoe what small recoveries our country has made in 2 years, and I sure as hell won't let them remove my duly elected POTUS.

    So Dem/Libs can make all the excuses they want. It won't save them in the voting booths. We're not done draining these swamp rats yet, and they are struggling... but America will not fail from within, not on my watch at least.

    Keep Making America Great!

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: or....

      I am all for Trump staying on, as I think the world could do without a super-power forcing its economic and political will ont he world. We are already seeing countries looking at ways to have treaties or invest or do business without the USA in the equation. The USA has had about 60 years of world domination, and 'world domination' is always a phrase that means bad things (the baddies always want it), so if the USA wants to step back from being the dominant party in treaties ans trade deals, and wants to put up tariffs to encourage its own walled garden to grow, then I say great. It is time for the EU etc to stop looking to anyone but themselves to captin their own ships.

    2. defiler Silver badge

      Re: or....

      what small recoveries our country has made in 2 years

      I'm honestly curious as to what progress DJT has made to 'undo the rot' or whatever you might describe it as in the past two years. Can you give examples?

      Seriously, I'm in the UK so I don't see much of USA domestic politics. From an international standpoint, Trump appears to be a dangerous toddler amongst dangerous toddlers, but I really don't know what difference he's made at home.

  16. Glen 1 Bronze badge

    In the UK, there are strict Rules regarding politics and television

    In the UK, there are strict Rules regarding politics and television.

    Given that many (most?) people seem to get their news from their FB or Twitter feed, could the same rules be applied here? At least for the paid ads?

    The 'organic' astroturfing would be nigh on impossible to control (burn the witch! etc), but the 'sponsored' stuff should be much easier. Maybe even introduce bank type KYC for ads?

  17. Claptrap314 Bronze badge

    Cause and effect

    It is really, REALLY hard to tease cause & effect apart in these studies. I would argue impossible when only a single election is being studied.

    For instance, while political scientists often count numbers in the 20% range as independent, political operatives know the real number is around 6%. (The difference comes because a lot of people are afraid to declare their allegiances, even anonymously.) Without digging into the study, I can be highly confident that the only serious persuasion going on was about turnout. As it almost always is.

    Both sides had really bruising primaries, but their nature was quite different. The Sanders-Clinton fight was mostly about old guard vs new. The new in their case being mostly the recently brainwashed<bs><bs><bs><bs><bs><bs><bs><bs><bs><bs><bs> college educated. The Republican primary was about Trump upending the usual order within the party, and bringing a significant number of general election voters into the primary.

    Like connects to like. So the college-educated Ds were already committed--to a candidate they could not vote for. Their "independent" friends saw little reason to get involved, and a bunch of ads on behalf of someone who they considered to be a thief was not going to do much good. The general election Rs were excited to "finally" have someone to shake things up. Their "independent" friends were at the tipping point to go to the polls.

    Guess whose ads were more effective?

    I could do a very similar analysis for 2008. (And recall that the Obama campaign was praised for hooking into FB's analytics (with FB help) to do the same sort of microtargetting.)

  18. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

    Obama campaign hooking into FB's analytics - GOOD!

    Trump campaign for hooking into FB's analytics - BAD!!

    1. Mycho Silver badge

      In the meantime what to they anticipate will be the result of this big crowd of migrants approaching the location of Trump's proposed wall will be on next month's elections?

      Anyone care to take a guess?

  19. Wellyboot Silver badge

    No FB here

    Not having a farcebook account leaves me with only lame TV rhetoric & BS to be annoyed at. (yes I know FB have my account ready & just waiting for when the law requiring one is enacted)

    Simple answer to targetted political adverts is banning them in any social media, only allow the billboard/TV style. Social media companies losing a little revenue bothers me not.

    Anything you wish to say to one person to convince them to vote for X should be available for all to see and judge.

    For those who may have missed it, FB has appointed (ex. UK deputy Prime Minister) Nick Clegg as 'Vice-President, Global Affairs and Communications' - he's now just a paid spin merchant.

  20. kitekrazy

    Research

    I'm glad I didn't pay for this research. I'm not sure what the point was other than The Register to allow some to air out their political views. I guess there was a mind block in creating articles.

    If you want to escape political bias you would have to die or be in a coma.

    My facebook is often littered with ads from purchases I made from developers. Political stuff usually comes from FB friends.

    The last paragraph reminds me that governments don't like anything getting big other than itself.

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