Beware of digital populism

Santiago Zabala at Al Jazeera:

This year more than 60 countries will hold elections, and all will be facing a similar threat: populist parties and movements that use data analytics firms to help them amplify their message, connect directly with the populace and widen their support base.

In recent years, right-wing populists have taken power in several countries, from Brazil to Hungary and the Philippines. Coinciding with the rise of populism, data analytics firms, such as Cambridge Analytica, Aggregate IQ and others, have been perfecting techniques to quantify the behaviour of voters to influence their votes. 

While the expansion of the reach of right-wing populism through the work of such firms is undoubtedly worrying for the future of democracy and human rights, there is another form of populism that is even more dangerous, as it pretends to be above the political categories of left and right all together: digital populism.

More here.

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