Web data spies tell politicians everything
POLITICAL parties are using a range of software to compile profiles to target messaging and identify swinging voters.
A platform called NationBuilder has been used by the Labor Party to collate information from Facebook likes and other online interactions.
NationBuilder business development vice-president Toni Cowan-Brown said the most successful parties around the globe employed data analysts.
“You’d be silly not to use them,” Ms Cowan-Brown said.
“NationBuilder doesn’t replace traditional campaigning methods, it enhances them.
“Door-knocking is made easier with walk sheets … showing an organised list of a neighbourhood’s streets so a volunteer can go from one house to the next in order, taking notes about the interactions they had with each of their neighbours.”
Amie Stepanovich, the US policy manager for digital rights body Access Now, said data-collating firms knew what websites you had visited and took information from social media to build profiles.
“They think you fall within a certain income group based on your friends, your interests and the websites you visit,” Ms Stepanovich said.
“Most users will never hear the names of these companies or even know that they exist.
“They can advertise to specific ages and demographics, but (also) people who like certain things or who have visited certain pages.
“When you get down to that level of granularity, you can cater to specific audiences and those groups might not know they are being tailored to.”
Queensland University of Technology’s Dr Axel Bruns said even voters who shared very limited information online could be targeted.