I Wish People Hadn’t Shared Their Voting Activity with Facebook

Did you see this yesterday, by any chance?

Yeah, me too. Every time I needed to communicate with someone. Facebook cared a great deal whether we voted yesterday. So did Google. Both companies put lots of resources into Election Day. Did you stop to think about why? Or did you just check right in to your local polling place and immediately broadcast your voter-ness, or even your specific votes?

If I sound cynical and dire, it’s because I am. Sharing my taste in movies with the Grid is one thing, but letting Facebook surveil my political activities is a bridge too far for me. How do you think the company that brought you mass-scale covert relationship manipulation is going to treat precise data about your political leanings?

At least they didn’t A/B test manipulating voter turnout this time.

I gathered from every time I opened my eyes in the direction of the Internet yesterday that Sharing™ about voting — especially with smug and superior language — is an enjoyable activity for many Americans. I urge said Americans to consider with whom they are really Sharing™.

What could Facebook do with the data? Oh, let’s just consider the most realistic case for now. They could (read: did) build a database of confirmed voters for targeted 2016 advertising. Facebook can now sell campaigns a targeted, national database that adds confirmed voter status on top of all the other precise targeting Facebook can do. Now 527 groups, Super PACs, and other secretly funded political advertisers will know precisely who to bother and how.

Add onto that any other possible future involving overseers knowing the exact social networking profiles of voters, and you’ll surely catch the drift of why I don’t broadcast my political activities to the surveillance apparatus. Did you hear that government requests for Facebook data were up 24% in the past six months?