I came across a rather interesting post on Facebook – you had the opportunity to find out how many people on the electoral register shared your name. I was intrigued – until I saw that it was a Labour party website.
So today is a brief post with a big warning – expect more of the same. Social media is all about shareable content – it is sharing the links that say: this is fun/interesting/outrageous – it is the discussions between friends. That is why I begrudgingly admit it is a very clever scheme by Labour – it is an intriguing question, and one that you are likely to share with your friends when you find out – which makes them want to find out, and so it continues.
The net result however is that the Labour party end up with your details – and especially your email address. And that’s when you begin to get emails from ‘Ed Miliband’ (more probably written by the Labour Comms’ Team) asking if they can count on your support. It’s a classic data collection ploy, and all the more vital as the number of political activists declines and apathy to politicians increases – social media is an increasing necessity to reach voters, as indicated by £100,000 spent by the Conservatives on Facebook. Every party and political action group is trying to get your contact data, so they can get your attention – with the hope of getting your vote!
And so I say: “Beware of party games!” I’m not saying the parties should stop doing what they are doing, because we are under no obligation to help the parties whatsoever – we freely choose to give them our data. But I am advising you to be cautious dear readers when you see something purporting to be fun and diverting that asks for your email address and postcode – the chances will be that a party is looking for your vote!
(On a separate note, if you find a party is bothering you with their emails, you are entitled under the 1998 Data Protection Act to request any data they hold about you, and to insist your data be removed from their database)