Aleem Fidai, owner of Kelowna marketing company, Exposed Marketing. (Supplied)

BC VOTES 2020: Kelowna marketing expert talks online targeting during political election

Kelowna marketing expert talks about how political parties can target you online during an election

One may think their personal life is far removed from the influence of politics, but a Kelowna expert in marketing will tell you otherwise.

Aleem Fidai is the owner of the Kelowna marketing company, Exposed Marketing,

and said that especially now, during a provincial election, it’s important to know how your social media account can be used as a tool by political parties.

The 21-year-old’s full-service digital business marketing agency specializes in early-stage startups and e-commerce (online sales) brands. Fidai does not work with political parties, though he is typical of individuals that parties have in their war-rooms.

Online targeting is evident in our daily lives if you look for it.

Those who shop online may have experienced seeing a product that they previously searched for, showing up in social media feeds, or in the form of ads on other websites. This, Fidai explained, is a basic system that is now standard for many online businesses.

“With technology today, I think people need to be more aware about being persuaded online by political parties… it’s quite easy to persuade a voter through online voting traps,” said Fidai.

Those who interact with any political party’s profile online will likely be targeted with political ads. This could be as simple as visiting a party’s website. Also, if you’ve given your email to a political party and use social media, Fidai said you will most likely be targeted as a supporter.

“If you visited the NDP website, for example, you shouldn’t be surprised if you’re seeing a ton of different ads regarding the NDP,” he said.

READ MORE: B.C. party leaders talk taxes, housing at board of trade event

READ MORE: B.C. VOTES 2020: Leaders promise action on crime, cancer, COVID-19

If you see an ad consistently showing up that you don’t want to see, particularly on Facebook, a user can click the three dots on the top of the image and select ‘hide ad’. However, Fidai explained other ads from the same party or company can continue to show up.

Yearly, Fidai said advertising platforms become more complex, and algorithms advance at a rapid pace. Now, advertisers and political parties have more information and data to utilize, when targeting individuals.

Advertisers and websites, he explained, will install a piece of coding on the back end of the website called a Facebook Pixel. This tracks users’ information coming to the website, which can be extracted and examined. Then, organizations can use this information to target similar groups of people, based on the people already visiting their sites.

Most of this information, Fidai explained, is extracted from social platforms.

“All of this data is quite easy to extract and utilize for audiences,” he said.

Referencing the new 2020 Netflix documentary film, The Social Dilemma, Fidai said this method of online targeting can skew the democratic process.

“It’s a new era, there’s very few regulations when it comes to political parties and how they’re using these social platforms to engage with voters, and to persuade them.”

With businesses and organizations having the same freedom on social media platforms as individuals, Fidai said he would like to see Facebook better monitor political content and ads. However, because social media is still such a new platform that continues to evolve every day, he admitted it’s hard for governments and regulators to enforce different regulations.

The best way to avoid being taken advantage of online, Fidai said, is to be aware and cognoscente of your online activities.

“It’s hard to do… but maybe just spend less time on the screen, logging out of Facebook more often because that can play a big role,” he said.

For more information, visit Exposed Marketing online. To view the trailer for referenced Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, click here.

READ MORE: Kelowna man jailed 9 months for possessing up to 12,000 child porn files

READ MORE: B.C. passes 10,000 COVID-19 cases since beginning of pandemic

READ MORE: Kelowna dog, owner throw 10th birthday party to raise funds for BC SPCA

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: phil.mclachlan@kelownacapnews.com


 

@newspaperphil
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Aleem Fidai, owner of Kelowna marketing company, Exposed Marketing. (Supplied)

Just Posted

Bear sightings have been reported in a residential area in Summerland in late October. The Conservation Officer Service is urging people to take measures so bears are not drawn to the area (Black Press file photo)
Bear sightings reported from Summerland neighbourhood

Conservation Officer Service urges people not to leave garbage outside

Melissa Leveque claims that on June 2, 2020 she spilled hot tea on her lap due to negligence on the part of staff at Penticton’s Riverside Starbucks drive-thru. (Google maps photo)
Woman sues Starbucks over hot tea spill at Penticton drive-thru

Melissa Leveque claims she suffered second degree burns, seeking $35,000

File photo of Kerrilynn Milton from 2013.
Former Downtown Penticton Association head to have trial by jury and judge

Kerrilynn Milton was charged with fraud over $5,000 and falsifying documents

Naramata Slow is almost at its goal of raising $850,000 to save Centre Beach from being sold.
Community goes above and beyond fundraising goal to save Naramata beach

The NaramataSlow’s fundraiser has received $860,000 in donations to their $850,000 goal

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as fake Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

One Peak Creative has made a catapult which allows children to receive candy in a socially distanced fashion. (Onepeakcreative - Instagram)
Kelowna production company creates Halloween catapult

One Peak Creative promoted the product by making a reality TV style video

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee arrive for annual Cascadia conference in Vancouver, Oct. 10, 2018. They have agreed to coordinate the permanent switch to daylight saving time. (B.C. government)
B.C. still awaiting U.S. approval to eliminate daylight saving time

Clocks going back one hour Nov. 1 in Washington too

A man was caught on surveillance taking a large outdoor heater from the patio at Intermezzo early morning Wednesday, Oct. 28. (Contributed)
WATCH: Heater theft leaves Okanagan business cold

Patio heater stolen from Intermezzo, found trashed

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP and a local Vernon man are asking the public to keep their eyes peeled for a unique piece of art stolen from Chris Saunders’ Okanagan Landing home Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. (Chris Saunders - Contributed)
Unique work of art stolen from Vernon man’s courtyard

‘Theft and trespass violations are getting out of control in Okanagan Landing’

SilverStar Mountain Resort is nominated as one of 20 of North America’s most favourite ski resorts in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice 2020. Winners will be announced Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. (SilverStar Mountain Resort - Facebook)
SilverStar tapped as one of North America’s favourites by USA Today

‘We are so humbled to be nominated,’ says Vernon resort’s communications manager

Most Read