The Video Blog Veritasium has come up with a clever experiment to show how click factories in places like Bangladesh, Egypt, and China inflate web statistics for Facebook pages and how they defraud users and clients. I have paid Facebook for advertising in the past with mixed results. This site often gets trolled from China but not so much from India, Bangladesh or Egypt. The engagement on my Facebook page never reaches the level described in the above video.
I haven't posted a lot on this year's election because the race this year between Gov. Tom Corbett and Tom Wolf appears to be all but wrapped up. Erin McClelland is a good candidate for Congress in the PA 12th district against world squinting champion and Tea Party yes man, Rep. Keith Rothfus (R).
One wildcard in this election, as it was in the last election, is social media. The social media giant Facebook has been known to manipulate their users' news feeds in order to produce a desired effect. Micah Sifry of MotherJones magazine has written on the experimentation Facebook has done to boost turnout in the 2012 election. They have produced data that shows a 3% increase in turnout in 2012. It doesn't say if it influenced how they voted. They haven't said what they are doing in this election but clearly they have been manipulating timelines to tell their users what they want to hear. Like any tool there is potential for abuse here in misinforming the public but also potential for good in motivating people to take action as the ice bucket challenge shows. The danger is in not informing their users that this is done.
Dave Ninehouser at HearYourselfThink.org has been doing everything he can to encourage people to vote for Erin McClelland and banter Rothfus. Is his message getting through? I couldn't embed a youtube video of Ninehouser confronting Rothfus because it has been "Disabled by Request." Was it Rothfus' or Ninehouser's request? You can view the video here.
Dave Ninehouser sent me this video of him confronting Rothfus because I couldn't embed his other video.