“I think this paralysis has been explained by sheer dazzlement – and, in some cases, infatuation – with the scale and reach of these companies. This has been combined with ignorance, among voters as well as their leaders, about how they actually work.
Your average politician thought “getting digital” meant opening a Twitter account, not understanding the business models of those who exploit the surveillance economy…
I’ve long been a fan of Andrew Rawnsley. Suits my middle ground mood.
Today, he found himself on my patch – talking about the business model of the Internet. Or rather the ‘surveillance capitalism’ thereon that has allowed the likes of Cambridge Analytica to thrive and survive amidst all that famous Wall Street obscurity. You know – just how did the Mercer Family make their billions?
And it wasn’t by being simple and open with their data transactions.
This piece hit several nails on the head – not least providing the leap of the imagination required to view Rawnsley’s arguments through the lens of Hollywood.
Something we’ve all done before. Frequently. It’s a trick of all great story tellers; to make a simple allegory when describing a complex problem. Be it me – or Doc Searls.
In this case it is imagining the Internet as The Matrix and Cambridge Analytica’s role therein as one of a Master seeking ‘informational dominance’ – locking any one, vulnerable individual into an advertising prism of their own making. As in CA’s making.
The hapless individual displays just enough of a seam data-wise to be first tapped and then trapped with disinfomation.
And that’s the key here.
Its an advertising prison the victim gets locked into, not an editorial one. It’s an adtech issue. Who exactly gets to see what ad.
“The firm then used the character of the Internet, according to the AP, where one click leads to another click, to surround individuals with a false reality,” Juan Cole writes for Informed Comment.
“The way this works is that say you know that someone is an unemployed auto worker and you make up phony internet placards misrepresenting Bill and Hillary Clinton as anti-labor. And you set it up so that once the person clicks on one such piece of propaganda, they are presented with several more links of the same ilk.
“And then so are all their Facebook friends. So you create a Matrix world…”
You make up some “phony internet placards” – ie ads.
And feed them into The System. Into the data blood that courses through the veins of the modern Internet, unchecked and uncharted.
That’s the point.
There’s no human ‘valve’ in the system any more; someone to control the flow of pernicious advertising that comes to poison and corrupt the body politic.
Or, rather, there wasn’t.
One of the fundamental aims of Addiply is to re-insert that advertising control back into the system. It’s here. In our little, pre-launch manifesto.
“Addiply is restoring a publisher’s control over its advertising inventory.Up to and including the need to pre-approve any advert before it goes live in front of a publisher’s audience.
As was the case in newspapers, a publisher now acts as the guardian to its community’s well-being ad-wise – no more dark, pernicious political adverts as mastered by the likes of Cambridge Analytica will seep through in front of local audiences without the connivance of the local publisher.
“Whom will then be held responsible for publishing any advertising that aims to denigrate, defile, deride or destabilize vulnerable elements within that community…”
To Andrew’s point, if you rip out all the Wall Street-style complexity out of the simple act of placing an ad in front of an online audience – particularly in a local setting – then the policing of the Internet falls once more to the publisher, not the politician.
I, as the publisher of MyFootballWriter/NorwichCity, am charged with being the guardian of my community ads-wise.
I am the valve restored into the body politic of the Internet. Re-inserted for the commercial and social good of my community.
Advertising on Addiply is not built to be complex and divisive; quite the reverse – it’s there to be simple and inclusive.
Matt Hancock MP has the Caincross Review at his disposal to ponder all such questions. No doubt the great and the good will have their own thoughts, delivered top down from on London high.
Me? I’ll place my faith in Addiply to keep the Masters of Disinformation in their place.
Safely where no-one can see them.
Behind a locked door.