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Old 01-27-2017, 09:49 AM   #1
glatt
 
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How a new use of Big Data let Trump win.

My sister in law just posted this article on FB. The website is admittedly sketchy (antidotezine.com) but it is, from what I can see, a direct translation of the original German language article from Das Magazin in Switzerland, and the citations all check out.

The article is a very long and interesting read and I encourage you to read it. I haven't seen this reported in the US.

The old way of doing a campaign is to get demographic data about voters and try to target them with messages that resonate with them. But it's crazy to think all women will think the same way, or all blacks, or any group. What's much more effective it to target personality types. There is a way of categorizing people using the OCEAN method where you see how they fall on the spectrum of Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. Once you identify how a person falls in each of those areas, you can predict better than they will themselves how they will respond to a particular message.

A company called Cambridge Analytica, headed by Alexander Nix, has mined data from Facebook and from all the free apps you have on your phone. They paid for that data, and with it, they have built an extremely detailed profile of every adult in America. And with that profile, they can target specific ads to individual people. And specific message too to come out of Trump's mouth. Cambridge Analytica was behind Brexit and also behind Trump.

From the article:

Quote:
“We have profiled the personality of every adult in the United States of America—220 million people,” - Nix
Quote:
Mathematician Cathy O’Neil had already observed in August that “Trump is like a machine learning algorithm” that adjusts to public reactions. “Pretty much every message that Trump put out was data-driven,” Alexander Nix explained to Das Magazin. On the day of the third presidential debate between Trump and Clinton, Trump’s team blasted out 175,000 distinct test variations on his arguments, mostly via Facebook. The messages varied mostly in their microscopic details, in order to communicate optimally with their recipients: different titles, colors, subtitles, with different images or videos. The granularity of this message tailoring digs all the way down to tiny target groups, Nix told Das Magazin. “We can target specific towns or apartment buildings. Even individual people.”
and
Quote:
In the Miami neighborhood of Little Haiti, Trump’s campaign regaled residents with messages about the failures of the Clinton Foundation after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, in order to dissuade them from turning out for Clinton. This was one of the goals: to get potential but wavering Clinton voters—skeptical leftists, African-Americans, young women—to stay home. To “suppress” their votes, as one Trump campaign staffer bluntly put it. In these so-called dark posts (paid Facebook ads which appear in the timelines only of users with a particular suitable personality profile), African-Americans, for example, were shown the nineties-era video of Hillary Clinton referring to black youth as “super predators.”

And check out this Youtube video of Nix talking at a convention about how he was behind the big surge Cruz had early in the primary and how it works.


Trump and Brexit used this tool. Hillary did not. But if the Democrats are paying attention, this was the first shot fired in an arms race, and campaigns will never be the same again where we each get individual messages sent to us.
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Old 01-27-2017, 10:06 AM   #2
Undertoad
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At work can't watch until later, but quick question:

Quote:
Trump and Brexit used this tool. Hillary did not.
How do we know Hillary did not?
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Old 01-27-2017, 10:13 AM   #3
glatt
 
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Well, not that company. It only works with republicans.

The NY Times said in November:
Quote:
Cambridge Analytica worked on the “Leave” side of the Brexit campaign. In the United States it takes only Republicans as clients: Senator Ted Cruz in the primaries, Mr. Trump in the general election. Cambridge is reportedly backed by Robert Mercer, a hedge fund billionaire and a major Republican donor; a key board member is Stephen K. Bannon, the head of Breitbart News who became Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman and is set to be his chief strategist in the White House.
And this company implies that it's the only one doing this.
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Old 01-27-2017, 10:26 AM   #4
Clodfobble
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Maybe they have us profiled according to OCEAN, maybe they don't. But these things they're describing in the article are not OCEAN-based, they're available to anyone. I can place an ad for women aged 42 living in Lubbock, Texas who trend conservative and have a history of buying memoirs from Amazon, and I don't have to collect that data. Facebook does it for me.
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Old 01-27-2017, 11:09 AM   #5
footfootfoot
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Yes, but can facebook target ignorant, critical thinking impaired, racist, xenophobic, misogynist bigots?
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Old 01-27-2017, 11:57 AM   #6
Undertoad
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Campaign firms and consultants only work with one party, it's standard operating procedure since forever.

Every one of them wants you to believe only they have the secret sauce.

From my experience, they all take credit for everything electoral that happened to go their way.

~

Hillary outspent Trump campaign 2x1 per vote, so either they were remarkably ineffective at getting the messages out, or the messages were not persuasive (see ^), or there were other problems with the candidate... or all three
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Old 01-27-2017, 12:33 PM   #7
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From the translation of that Swiss article.
Quote:
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, was relying on the endowment of the first social media president, Barack Obama. She had the Democratic Party’s address lists, worked with cutting-edge Big Data analysts from BlueLabs, and received support from Google and Dreamworks. When it was announced in June 2016 that Trump had hired Cambridge Analytica, Washington collectively sneered. Foreign noodlenecks in tailored suits who don’t understand this country and its people? Seriously?
So they say Hillary did do some Big Data stuff with BlueLabs. When you go to the BlueLabs website, they have very little information about what they provide. They use the buzz words, but don't offer any nuts any bolts information on how they do what they claim to do.
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Old 01-27-2017, 09:48 PM   #8
Pamela
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Quote:
Originally Posted by footfootfoot View Post
Yes, but can facebook target ignorant, critical thinking impaired, racist, xenophobic, misogynist bigots?

Glatt already said it doesn't work on Democrats, only Republicans. Sheesh! Pay attention!
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Old 01-28-2017, 01:46 PM   #9
classicman
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Quote:
let Trump win.
Your bias is showing.
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Old 01-28-2017, 02:38 PM   #10
xoxoxoBruce
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Big Data Killed Statistical Analysis.
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Old 01-28-2017, 03:08 PM   #11
glatt
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by classicman View Post
Your bias is showing.
I hope so. I am proudly biased against him.
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Old 01-30-2017, 03:08 AM   #12
Pi
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That's quite an interesting article.
I like it a lot, but it shows that democracy is slowly failing.
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Old 01-30-2017, 07:10 AM   #13
xoxoxoBruce
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Sort of melting, like a glacier.
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