A blog about things that interest me, politics, news, media, architecture, development, environment, local history, secularism, web, dublin ireland, tara

Contact me at expectationlost@gmail.com

Sunday 6 March 2016

Online and offline Ad Targeting Voters for Irish General Election campaign 2016

Loads of candidates have been in the last days of the 2016 General Election campaign using sponsored pages ads on facebook, Im getting ads from people who are running in Mayo and North Kildare and to the Seanad because Im apparently interested in Kerry based candidates even though I live in Dublin.

I saved most of the ads I saw and the "Why am I seeing this Ad" infowindow which tells you the general categories you were targeted under. Folder of screenshots of the facebook sponsored posts/pages/ads.

I saw the Socialist and Democrats European Party doing ads for anyone interesed in Labour In Ireland (as I once was) and I think I saw European Peoples Party twitter ads for Fine Gael.

Sinn Fein did sponorsed ads for their last days videos (SF on health ad) Fine Gael did an video (that I presumed was brought to people via ads) in the last few days with particular use of the American style black and white and image pans.

The Facebook ads solution in Ireland aren't that sophisticated in terms of geographic targeting due to the previous lack of a country wide postcode (although we now have Eircode) and voter file databases. I had a look at my options. Its a circle you can put miles diameters on, or name a place, and you add 3 interests or an age ranges, or use customer list or website traffic or app activity and also target based on device (id).

I kept seeing ads for Kevin Humphries who is running in Dublin Bay South for Labour even though I live well into Dublin Bay North but it was actually because I visited his website about a month ago here's the ad and you can see him using the Facebook pixel Home - Kevin Humphreys which is like the clear pixels trackers that load in email newsletters to tell them you read it.

I had adblocker on and I turned it off to subject myself to the political ads. Canvassing is still king we're barely scratched the surface compared to the US (or the UK) in terms of micro-targeting but what else have people seen?

Also saw this attack ad on Facebook (via sponsored page ad) against Shane Ross called 'The Ross Files'

I read on here that Fine Gael were sending out letters about Ross voting against the SCC (Ross said he voted against the motion to renew the legislation because it was being guillotined) and Shatter has been tweeting about that for the last week, so make up your own minds about who is behind it.

The Socialists and Democrats Group in European Parliament promoting Labour during the 2016 Irish election.


Based on my politics.ie thread Social Media paid election ads

Other negative social media political ads covered in You stay classy gang... The negative side of social media campaigning - Newstalk by Craig Dwyer. Linkedin version.

Fine Gael Facebook Ad 2016

The FG Facebook ad by cedarloungrepblic February 14, 2016
No politicians using Paid ads on Google or Facebook By John McGarry Webworks.ie May 22 2014
Facebook launches ‘I’m a Voter’ button for election

Facebook were releasing press releases on election chatter during the campaign while Facebook has a very high user numbers in Ireland it never relased actual numbers disucssing live during the debates themselves.
Facebook hosts General Election debate in Dublin. RTÉ2 Facebook Election Special.
Facevook: Targeting Voters

Ge16 at The Institute for Future Media and Jouranlism DCU

Politicians take to Facebook to boost ‘likes’ ahead of general election irish Examiner January 20, 2016 Juno McEnroe

Fine Gael launches Facebook ads to highlight how other countries have abolished their second chambers Fine Gael 2013 Description Independent.ie.

Before the 2015 Marriage Referendum vote, Fine Gael used faebook to target a video of Michael Noonan at rural voters.

Joan Burton uses the Private Residential Tenancy Board data

Although this occured in December 2015 it was definitely related to the run up to the election in February 2016.

Independent Councillor David McGuinness wrote on his facebook page asking about this letter
TheJournal's Paul Hosford picked it up,

Department insists no issue with Joan Burton’s ‘unusual and concerning’ letter to constituents TheJournal Dec 16th 2015.
Independent councillor and general election candidate David McGuinness said that some of the Tánaiste’s constituents received the letters – but only those who are on social welfare or are registered landlords.
However, the Department insisted that the constituents’ information was drawn from publicly available resources and that no internal information from its own database was used.
and explained what Joan Burton staff was doing was to get a list of rental addresses from the PRTB website and cross reference that with the electoral register

I didn't really realise such lists existed but here it is PRTB Portal

I donwloaded Dublin 7 and they are 7000 adresses, not very precisely targeted, but despite impressions of wasteful use, they need to use their Oireachtas envelopes carefully and this would narrow the address list somewhat.

Not sure Dave McGuinness is fully aware of these public lists and came up with other problems with it, even after the Department and others explained what was done, he still wasn't satisfied, questioning it on his facebook page,
Cllr David McGuinness Ind December 16, 2015
Homeowners details on PRTB website accessed, then cross checked with the names on the electoral register and then Joan Burton decides to write to these people in D15 randomly using prepaid Dáil envelopes but who did the work? Was it civil servants doing constituency work for the upcoming election. Serious questions remain and I believe a lot of people will be angry at their information being used like this

However the PRTB register is public info but I am wondering if the PRTB information can be used in this way, if there are terms and conditions on this information? Private Residential Tenancies Board | Terms of Use | PRTB Ireland

20. This is a license, not a transfer of title, and is subject to the following restrictions: you may not:

(b) use the Website or Materials for the purpose of soliciting, for any product, solution, or service, companies that have listings or content included in the Website content;
The Data Protection Commissioner has warned candidates to be careful about the source of their canvassing data Data Protection Commissioner, Issues Guidance on Canvassing, Data Protection and Electronic Marketing, but political parties are partially exempt from some Data Protection rules if used for political purposes, I've explored this in a previous post about E-cavnassing.

First national register of tenancies is published Sat, Nov 5, 2005.

Residential Tenancies Act 2004 PART 7 Registration of Tenancies - Private residential tenancies register

Has anyone else received correspondence from politicians that was targetting to you similar to this?

Based on my Poltics.ie thread Targeting Constituents.
Election 2016: Get ready to be hit by a digital deluge Irish Times 16, 2016, 02:29 Cliff Taylor
How Irish Political Parties are Using Social Networking Sites to Reach Generation Z: Kevin Lynch and John Hogan Dublin Institute of Technology 2012 (Labour used facebook ad for Lisbon video pg 91) more
the real story behind those Labour adsTheJournal Aug 24th 2015