This semester we have been able to study different ways of organizing data such as a geographical and demographic distribution, for example, or the utility of mastering computer algorithms or languages such as R-language. Is of utmost importance in e-commerce, web marketing and politics. Reliable and well-processed information is today a value that evolves rapidly over time. This is why professionals using data’s need to increasingly be performing to manage data in an efficient way.
Data management is a discipline that seeks to value data as a digital resource. It enables the development of architectures, practices and procedures that adequately address the needs of organizations over the life cycle of the data. Data management is also a vision of the management of information systems that are built simply around the nature of the data and not according to a system and its interactions.
Today big data is displayed everywhere on the Net: merchant sites, online media, blogs, YouTube, search engines, net radios applications and, of course, social networks like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
The current policy is no exception. The overuse of Big Data becomes very important in the political party headquarters as some companies of strategic decision. For example, in the Clinton campaign, the data analytics department consumed two-thirds of the financial resources in the massive purchase of data from GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon), the industrial processing of these data and their cross. The members of the Democratic Party and of the polling institutes were supposed to allow one to anticipate finely the opinions of each one.
Big Data in politics is not a new thing. These users have only digitized, simplified and expanded practices that have been in place for a long time. Previously, they were workbooks containing data. IT has made it possible to increase efficiency and increase the quantity of data processed. The use of Big Data in political communication represents even today a stage as important as the appearance of the television, the newspapers or the radio.
This practice makes it possible to group the data at the level of a city or a region. This confers a certain advantage to its user. The idea here is to save time and efficiency in the organization of election campaigns. Thus, it has become possible, among other things, to visualize on a mapping module all the analyses carried out and the targeting up to the level of the polling station with a greater efficiency than in the past.
Governments that were numerically behind when the Internet took off in the 1990s decided to use data management and now have increasingly sophisticated tools to prepare elections campaigns. The Big Data does not, however, bury old-fashioned politics. It complete political stratagies by making it more simpler and efficient.
What are the solutions to be adopted to improve the situation of a candidate in a political election? Or what are the solutions needed for a brand manager who wants to test a product before he launch it? These questions need the same answers. Politics and brand managers must first deal with the wrong informations. They have to find first the right sources and know how to exploit the data in the best possible way.
It is no longer a question of trying to guess and highlight the themes that will appeal to the greatest number. Today, it is a question of foreseeing the most possible scenarios by identifying the most reliable elements.
For example, in the US, campaign teams have to collect a lot of informations available online on every citizen of voting age and storing it in data warehouses. Managed with algorithms, these data allows campaign teams to decide who needs to be reminded of the presidential election or who may be persuaded to vote for a candidate.
Another example shows us that in 2002 the US Congress adopted the “Help America Vote Act”, which requires American states to maintain a centralized, computerized, and uniform list of registered voters in each state. This improved data base technology allowed political parties to compile, store and use a list of all American voters.
Currently, both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party have their own data bases, enabling them to easily identify voters and link them to other public information. In France, Germany and in Ireland political teams started to do the same too.
A Renewal of Data Management:
The Clinton campaign shows us that data control aims to predict as many situations as possible. During this campaign, knowledge of the electoral map and different opinions was optimal while a team of professionals made and broadcasted the right messages on social networks. It is the perfect example of the use of data management at the service of politics.
Justin Trudeau, who was elected Prime Minister of Canada in 2016 used the same process. His team spent a large part of his budget on targeted advertising in social media. This strategy proved it was effective, as it enabled the campaign to send far more targeted messages than competing parties. This process was initially used in the field of web marketing and was taken over by the politicians.
Statistical instruments have become a technique of governments. The algorithms make it possible to prioritize the information, select the data that we prefer and exploit it. This collection of numerical data makes it possible to predict the future from the knowledge of the parameters of the present. The main challenge will be to know how to make good use of these data, and it is the role of data management to organize all the data collected.
We can therefore speak of a revolution in the use of data and its management in the service of politics.
During the presidential elections in the United States Donald Trump used social networks to his advantage with his populist messages. Its Twitter account thus gathered more than 7 million subscribers. The President of the United States of America also said:”How to fight a fraudulent advertising that costs millions of dollars promoting corrupt politicians? Using Facebook and Twitter. Look! ” He simply used basic marketing techniques to find out what potential readers were waiting for, and used mass media to simultaneously target potential voters to win the election.
Since the last election of Barack Obama in 2012 Big Data have become one of the first weapons of political marketing. It is today an important tool for in-depth knowledge of the requirements of voters, personalization of messages and predictive analysis in particular. Politicians are employing data analysts to enable them to carry out their campaigns as well as possible. Barack Obama won the election because of the use by his team of the Content Management System “Nation Builder”. This system combines four functions: website, donation management, community facilitation and communication. The search for data was targeted and would make it easier to manage data subsequently.
Better understanding who are the people who will potentially vote for a candidate is a real benefit. The Big Data has a dual interest for a political personality in the field: it first identifies the electors most likely to change their minds and then characterizes these voters on the sociological and electoral level. It is therefore a decisive tool for constructing relevant communication during the campaign
On the other hand, while many peoples want a new approach to politics, Big Data can contribute to the emergence of democracies that are more transparent, more direct and more in tune with the demands of citizens.
Today’s opinion is suddenly changing, unpredictable because information is just as fast and precise. Surveys are obsolete while Big Data is more on the agenda. The growth of the Internet and the acquisition of enormous amounts of data transform the democratic process. This revolution allowed by computer science is accomplished in the exploitation of these increasing mountains of data.
In the years to come Big Data will have an increasingly important role in determining the results of the political elections. But the risk will be that the digital targeting of voters could eventually reduce the democratic process to a simple marketing exercise. By using ever more sophisticated algorithms, governments have the opportunity to exploit this data. That changes the balance of power. They can also identify and neutralize the most influential activists.
Unfortunately, the Internet and related technologies could strengthen authoritarian governments by making it more difficult for the countries concerned to move to a democratic regime. In a recent World Bank report it has been pointed out that among the non-democratic countries the most autocrats have made considerable investments in e-government tools.
Technology is neither good nor bad for democracy in fact, everything depends on the use made of it. Since the use of Big Data and the tools of their exploitation will only increase, in order to safeguard democracy, the use of this data should be as transparent as possible.
With all these tools, how to explain massive political surprises like the Brexit, or the victory of Donald Trump? There are techniques of text generation with slight variations and there is no doubt that many of the “sympathizers” who followed Donald Trump were robots. The spams are very powerful and there’s manipulation on social medias but there is also some “real” reactions from the citizens.
Fact checking and Big Data are likely to change profoundly the face of our search engines, going beyond the keyword search stage.
The American Press Institute has conducted studies proving that young Americans get much information through social networks. While on the other hand in 2014, the Pew research center demonstrated a growing bipolarization of American public life, partly attributable to these same networks. This means that social networks like Facebook can transmit inaccurate information from the large-scale circulation of these data to the largest number. Finally, the Yahoo Labs also worked in 2013 on this issue. The researchers of the group have created a tool that suggests to Internet users to take notice of tweets, expressing ideas that they themselves reject. This study has shown that in developing their critical thinking, Internet users exposed to alternative visions can temper their points of view.
The main challenge faced by Data Management in the future will be to automate fact checking to limit the scope of poisoning operations. The fact checking associated with the Big Data will then likely, profoundly change the look of our search engines, going beyond the keyword search stage. This will allow us to automate very complex queries, which today require weeks of work.
A Dominique CARDON What the algorithms dream about: Our lives at the time of the big data. The republic of ideas, Seuil, Paris, 2015