It’s happening both in the EU and the US. The recent media scandals around social media campaigns destroyed reputations and raised important questions regarding the ad policies and moral standards of all main social networks. Is this thin ice going to break or is it still possible to hold a political campaign on a social network?
From fake news and their influence on the general public to the use of radical inflammatory groups, social networks became minefields for any political movement. A good reputation is the hardest thing to acquire and the easiest thing to lose. You can champion the best causes and hold the highest standards if it appears you are manipulating social media, be sure that the internet is going to point its accusing finger at you. It’s because people get vulnerable in here, and when vulnerable people get confused as to who’s trying to pull their strings — they lash out.
Dawn of the age of political heroes
You can no longer aspire to the “guiding light” role. Anyone who tries to peddle that sort of image online becomes a target and raises questions. “Who’s behind him”, “Who’s behind his supporters” are questions that can be fed with any sort of misguided communication.
Groups become so polarized that it becomes impossible to hold a moderate position. Everyone got really good at pointing fingers and spreading conspiracy theories. Due to a lack of social network regulatory systems in place, unfounded accusations, dodgy tactics or manipulatory actions cannot be suppressed efficiently enough. No norm became the norm.
The US troll hunt
Hailed from on one side, booed from the other. Figures like Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have suffered from such strong opposing side backlash. Accusations ranged from communism to fascism, to Russian propaganda infiltrators. It’s still going on.
In its prepared remarks sent to Congress, Facebook said the Internet Research Agency, a Russian company linked to the Kremlin, had posted roughly 80,000 pieces of divisive content that were shown to about 29 million people between January 2015 and August 2017.
Previously, Facebook had said it identified more than $100,000 in advertisements paid for by the Internet Research Agency.
Colin Stretch, the general counsel for Facebook, has declared that the Russia-linked posts were “an insidious attempt to drive people apart,” calling the posts “deeply disturbing,” and noted they focused on race, religion, gun rights, and gay and transgender issues.
Twitter, in its prepared remarks, said it had discovered more than 2,700 accounts on its service that were linked to the Internet Research Agency between September 2016 and November 2016. Those accounts, now suspended by Twitter, posted roughly 131,000 tweets over that period.
Google, in its prepared statement, said it had also found evidence that the Internet Research Agency bought ads on its services and created YouTube channels to upload short videos about divisive social issues including law enforcement, race relations or Syria.
The European witch hunt
More than one country has faced the civic ambivalence caused by polarized social media influence. From UK’s Brexit to Greece to Spain and recently Poland. Radicalized groups arise from apparently nothing much, spreading their influence over the media through social media networks.
Reasonable influencers are weak and the network reach is overwhelming.
Leaders like Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel struggle and fail to maintain a balanced, straightforward, trustworthy online image. Rumors spread like hay fire.
Modern online survival strategies for future political heroes
Fighting for a good cause is no longer enough. You have to be able to back your position with such solid arguments and support that no one can question it. But where to find that incorruptible ally? Someone that cannot be manipulated, bribed or blackmailed? We’re all human, and we’re all susceptible to corruption.
While the Social Giants re-think their systems and try to solve the moral side of advertising, the blockchain remains the last bastion of libertarianism and decentralization. There lies all the hope left for transparency and community collaboration under the fair influence of smart-contracts.
Using the blockchain to run a political campaign would present the highest possible level of trust to the public. Due to the insulated nature of the ever-growing Ethereum network, no one can blackmail computers. The blockchain cannot be manipulated. You can’t sneak funds or cover operations.
The final proof any political leader would need to demonstrate his or her fair intentions is running a social campaign through the Ethereum Blockchain.
This is exactly the kind of thing you’ll be able to do with Sether, the first smart social media data oracle, automating blockchain integration with social networks.