Seems like there was an “experiment” going on in Senate race in Alabama where Democrat Doug Jones beat Republican Roy Moore last year. Democratic technology folks started a small test to see if Russian-like Facebook memes, tactics, and other content could sway the election toward Jones.
What did they do? Start a Facebook page in which they posed as conservative Alabamans trying to divide Republicans, including a write-in candidate to take votes from Moore.
According to The New York Times, the effort linked Moore’s campaign to thousand of Russian accounts.
But all this, according to one executive, was just a research project to “explore how certain online tactics worked, not to affect the election.” It was to “understand how these kinds of campaigns operated.”
The tech research effort only had a budget of $100,000, versus $51 million, the total spent in media for the Alabama Senate race.
For many, the biggest honor for any teacher is when knowledge and teachings are absorbed by students who then use and expand on the wisdom. Russian trolls must now be proud; so many hope to emulate their efforts.
For years, marketers have done legitimate, so-called “guerrilla" marketing and media campaigns around special big TV events — advertisers that declined to buy big, pricey sponsorships on a major network for the Super Bowl or the World Series.
Instead, they might just buy local TV advertising inventory, in the national spot marketplace, on top market TV stations where the Super Bowl of World Series is airing.
Does the U.S. advertising business for political campaigns need to find another way? Is this where the media world is headed — rogue marketing and media players as tools to gain marketing knowledge?
For decades, consumers have looked at advertising as being manipulative. What's next?
Well, one thing is for sure. Despite the findings of 17 U.S. intelligence agencies, President Trump doesn’t believe the Russians had anything to do with manipulating -- by social media or other means -- the 2016 presidential election or possibly other political races.
Phew. I was worried for a second. Now, all things are cleared up. I’m ready to view the latest postings on Facebook.