Ads come at us all the time on pretty much most platforms we are on. Even if we don’t pay attention to them, there is definitely an underlying impact in our brain having those ads just sit on a page of something else you are looking at. Remember when the movie theaters used to have subliminal advertising around the popcorn prior to the show?
Reading about how the Russians created Facebook profiles and then used those profiles to push out over $100K of ads and posts across the platform that were anti-Hillary and pro-Trump is extremely disturbing. It will be hard to quantify the impact but it’s there.
Someone told me this story that says something about the propaganda from Russia on Facebook. She is some Houston, first-generation American. Her parents immigrated here from India. Her father is now a retired doctor in Texas. He has always been a Democrat. He cares more about his fellow man than his taxes.
Before the election, the family gets together for something and their father is praising Trump, talking extremely right-wing and everyone is confused. They wonder, has Dad lost his mind? But the one sibling who gets the Internet said, let’s check his Facebook settings.
They make some adjustments, such as blocking extreme right-wing media sites that somehow were coming at him fast and furious and made sure that what he was now seeing was articles from places such as the Washington Post, New York Times, New Yorker and others.
Two weeks pass and guess what, he is back to his normal Democratic self. The whole family sighed relief but think about that. Here is an educated man, a doctor, who might be in his retirement years but a smart guy who was obviously being swayed by the articles and ads being pushed at him. I find it extremely scary.