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

Three vehicle crash on Highway 33. Twila Amato, Black Press Media.
UPDATE: Three-vehicle crash involving bus on Highway 33

Highway 33 is slow going in both directions

More than 6,000 people attended the popular Downtown Vernon Association summer concert series known as Civic Sounds. (Peter Solymosi)
Vernon organization requests $20K to bring back park-based fun

Downtown Vernon Association seeks funding for 2021 programming

Welcome Inn will offer 20 beds, but site coordinators Jason Siebenga and Tara Tschritter hope to offer up to 40. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Winter shelters spaces opening in Kelowna

The move comes as winter conditions are setting in earlier this year

Comedian Mike Delamont will take the stage at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre for two socially-distanced shows Nov. 14 at 5:40 and 8 p.m. (Contributed)
Comedy returns to Vernon’s stage amid COVID-19

Cabaret-style shows let audience in on the live action once again

The 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge targets municipalities across Canada where radon testing has been limited, but where there is a potential for homes to have elevated radon levels. Vernon is participating. (Image contributed)
Vernon takes on Radon Challenge

200 free radon testing kits are up for grabs as part of the third annual challenge to test for gas

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

The Stuart Park ice rink in January 2020. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Popular Kelowna outdoor ice rink will open amid COVID-19 pandemic

City council approved COVID-related changes to the Stuart Park ice rink’s operations

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health sees 31 new cases of COVID-19 over record-breaking weekend

Eighty-six cases remain active and one person is hospitalized with the virus

Salmon Arm RCMP responded to a seven-vehicle chain reaction collision early Monday morning, Oct. 26. (File photo)
One person injured in seven-vehicle chain-reaction collision in Salmon Arm

Snow packed to ice, speed contributing factors behind collisions

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

RCMP responded to a single-vehicle collision on Highway 1 east of Salmon Arm early Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (File photo)
Salmon Arm man killed in collision on Highway 1

RCMP say slippery road conditions contributing factor behind collision

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Jordan Naterer, 25, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. He planned a hike in the Manning Park area, and has not been seen since. Photo Facebook.
Parents not giving up, after official search for Manning Park hiker suspended again

‘We are determined, but eventually the money is going to run out.’

Most Read