There’s been a lot of talk that digital voodoo won the election for Donald Trump.
It’s a simple enough story. It goes something like this:
Trump’s data agency, Cambridge Analytica, gathered 5,000 data points on everyone. They used this to psychologically profile people, and deliver highly personalised advertising online. This exploited your character, fears and interests. And this swung the election for Trump.
Dig under the skin and this story has a few flaws. Using Cambridge Analytica’s own data, we can see that it probably didn’t swing the election.
To understand why, we need to kill a myth. Which is that Trump’s campaign knew how individuals behave and think in intimate detail.
This requires Trump’s campaign to have abundant data on millions of voters.