There was much concern over the legitimacy of political stories during the 2016 presidential elections. It was found that people all over the world were creating fake stories, whether about Trump or Clinton because they knew the clicks and reposts would make them thousands.
That made it very tough as voters in the United States, who could neither verify nor have any idea if what they were reading had any truth to it, to determine how they would cast their ballots in November.
Well, thanks to the Democratic National Committee’s debate-qualification rules, candidates are being forced into “driving a social-media frenzy.” The DNC’s rules announced the details for the next two presidential primary debates to be held in September and October must “meet both the Polling Threshold and the Grassroots Fundraising Threshold:”
Candidates must receive 2% or more support in at least four polls…poll must be sponsored by an approved organization…Grassroots Fundraising Threshold. Candidates must submit a certification, executed by the Presidential candidate’s campaign Treasurer, demonstrating that the campaign has received donations from a minimum of (1) 130,000 unique donors; and (2) 400 unique donors per state in at least 20 U.S. states.
According to Bloomberg.com “the economics of online advertising can be confusing- and punishing. Between January 5 and July 13, some two dozen Democratic candidates collectively spent nearly $26 million on social-media ads, according to Bully Pulpit Interactive.”
Additionally, Bloomberg says that while “most candidates say they have benefited from social media and relish in its ability to target specific groups in desired locations, its costs often fluctuate wildly.” For a group of presidential hopefuls who already face tough odds with so many still running, that is a lot of money to spend. The biggest online spenders so far have been “Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, at $2.9 million, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, at $2.6 million.”
As the candidates compete to “buy” the votes of online audiences, “some candidates are even seeing a loss from their online investments, having spent millions on Facebook without reaping a bump-up in the polls” and other campaigns are “in danger of being ‘bled dry’ by spending well more than $1 to get a $1 contribution and meet the debate criteria.” Because of the DNC rules where candidates need at least 130,000 unique donors, “Facebook, with more than 1.5 billion daily active users and the ability to micro-target audiences has claimed the lion’s share of the spending.”
Is this really helpful to rely so heavily on a social media platform that is already infested with literal lies in the political sphere? I guess we will wait and see, but it does appear that Facebook, not voters, will be the winner in this election.