Dr. Rachel Gibson, Professor of Politics at the University of Manchester, discusses British political parties’ digital campaigning from websites to social media. We take a longitudinal dive into the development of digital campaigning in the UK, and compare it to campaigning practices in the US. Then, we examine how citizens’ political participation is evolving through their use of digital communication technologies.
Dr. Nick Anstead, Associate Professor in Media and Communications at the LSE, guests to discuss his new research on British parties’ Facebook ad targeting during the 2017 election. Using a data from the Chrome browser created by Who Targets Me, Dr. Anstead and his team compare the content, tone, personalization, and calls to action used in these ads. We discuss the findings of that study, as well as outline three challenges for academics studying Facebook ad targeting moving forward: the epistemological, the conceptual, and the systematic.
Read the full study here!
Simon Day, co-founder of Apptivism, discusses how chatbots are used to increase civic engagement. By interacting with a chatbot on Facebook Messenger, citizens can give their opinion on policies from their computers or smartphones. Policymakers can then analyze the data from chatbot interactions to better shape policy. Simon breaks down how these chatbots work and describes how Apptivism is helping governments use this new technology.
#28: The UK’s New Digital Left: Paid Social, Civic Tech, and Mobilizing the Youth Vote, with Samir Patel
Samir Patel, Managing Director at Blue State Digital London, guests this week to discuss how the recent success of the Labour Party in the 2017 British elections was aided by a huge push in digital by the British Left. We discuss the role that Facebook data targeting played in the election – not just from Labour but also advocacy groups. Samir also explains how social media was used to mobilize the British youth vote, how citizens built their own digital tools to campaign (i.e. civic tech), and some transnational differences (and similarities) between campaigning in the United States, United Kingdom, and other parts of the European Union. We also talk about how Brexit and the upcoming negotiations may affect data privacy laws and campaign regulations.
The article that I mention in the introduction can be found on Blue State Digital’s website here.
In this episode, Sam Jeffers, co-founder of Who Targets Me, joins the podcast to discuss how sponsored Facebook ads were used by political parties in the 2017 British General Election. Who Targets Me is a project collecting targeted Facebook ads via a Google Chrome extension, and its aim is to shed light on who’s posting political dark ads as well as who’s being targeted. We discuss the project and what the initial data shows from GE2017.