Amid congressional hearings and FBI investigations in the US about whether and how Russia interfered with the US Presidential Elections, discussions continue about the efficacy and ethics of micro-targeting voters.
In our latest and 10th edition of the SmallDataForum podcast, Neville, Sam and I reflect on the outcome of the recent general elections in the UK.
We agree that unlike last time, Labour did better than the Conservatives digitally at this election. In combining doorstep campaigning with digital targeting in marginal seats (based on the insights from their proprietary software) and generally being on the ball with issues online, Labour managed to connect the dots more successfully than the Conservatives.
This Amazon- or Netflix-style micro-targeting is seen by some as a ‘dark art’. But as Sam points out, we never see the mechanics of what happens in advertising and marketing.
Continue reading “10: UK general election, micro-targeting voters and getting the right data”
News is neither a fixed nor a finite entity. There are some periods in history when it feels like there’s just more happening than at others.
I’m not talking about the Dark Ages (which suffered a blackout from not just newscasters but also historiographers). I’m talking about periods in one’s life in the early 21st century when it feels as if there’s more going on globally and geopolitically than at others.
Now of course, the growth of social media, driven by the democratisation of mobile technology and the explosion in smartphones in particular, has had a profound impact on the way that news is gathered, shared, and amplified.
Today, anyone with a smartphone and a decent 4G or WiFi connection, can become a citizen journalist, blogger, or vlogger. But the mere presence and widespread availability of technology and means of data transmission cannot – in and of themselves – create more news.
Continue reading “09: Back to the future or fast forward to a new normal?”
Such is the nature of our continuously evolving subject matter, when we have completed a podcast, we often find that on key discussion points, there is already more, and breaking news.
Just days after recording our latest musings last week on the challenges and opportunities surrounding big-small data, with multiple references to Facebook and their attempts to counter fake news, the Guardian broke the story of the Facebook Files, based on more than 100 internal training manuals, spreadsheets and flowcharts outlining the rules and guidelines for what its two billion users can and can’t post on the site.
This will add to the global debate about the role and ethics of Facebook and other social media platforms in public discourse. And without a doubt it will be a key topic of future SDF podcasts.
Continue reading “08: The Facebook files, machine learning and fake news continue”
A topic that’s dominated our conversation in recent episodes of The Small Data Forum podcast is fake news and related issues.
In episode 7, hosted by Thomas Stoeckle in conversation with regulars Neville Hobson and Sam Knowles, we consider world wide web inventor Tim Berner-Lee’s call to action on what he sees as three big challenges for the web:
1. Loss of control of personal data;
2. Spread of misinformation; and
3. Questionable political advertising.
Continue reading “07: How does Big Data convert into Business Value?”
Episode 6 of the Small Data Forum podcast continues the discussion from our 2016 year-end edition, which focused on fake news, post-truth, and what John Naughton in the Observer called the ‘poisoning of our public sphere’.
At the World Economic Forum in Davos in January, fake news was a main discussion point, with the Forum’s Global Future Council on Human Rights addressing governance issues around what is seen as an urgent matter of human rights.
In the UK, a parliamentary inquiry into fake news is under way, led by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee. The BBC has set up its own unit to check facts and debunk fake news, technology companies such as Facebook and Google are driving initiatives to combat fake news in Europe, and Apple CEO Tim Cook recently stated that false information is “killing people’s minds“.
Continue reading “06: Narrative versus fact – ‘asymmetric information warfare’”