MembersHow Facebook Helped Elect the Next Israeli Prime Minister

No, this isn’t a tale of fake news or foreign manipulation of the local electorate.

Graffiti on a wall in Jerusalem of a like sign from facebook. May 15,2011. Photo by Sophie Gordon / Flash 90 *** Local Caption *** àìåñèøöéä àéìåñèøöéä âøôéèé ôàéïñáå÷ îöåéï Photo: Sophie Gordon / Flash 90

No, this isn’t a tale of fake news or foreign manipulation of the local electorate. Though no doubt both occurred to some degree during Israel’s recent national elections (of which there were two this year), this article is about the growing reliance of politicians on social media platforms.

In the days of old (read: as recently as five years ago) the primary advertising platforms for politicians looking to get elected were television, radio and newspapers. These platforms provided some ability to target one’s desired audience, such as the political bent of a particular radio show or print publication. But it was still largely an exercise in proverbially throwing ads against the wall to see which would stick. A campaign would need a certain degree of faith that the right people would be watching or listening at the right time.

Today, that uncertainly has been all but eliminated in political advertising thanks to the power of mass collection of personal data.

Politicians now know that they can laser-focus their advertising via popular social networks, in particular...

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