Never before in human history has the ability to manipulate people been as easy and widespread as it is now. In the past, the more homogeneous communities were, the more vulnerable people were to propagandistic rhetoric and messaging. So it was reasonable to expect that in a globalised era characterised by diversity and heterogeneity, that the propaganda tactics of old would become irrelevant. However, the internet created global homogenous communities with lives online — people’s profiles, preferences and biases, which are latent in all utterances and every click — has rendered them more vulnerable to manipulation than ever before. Politics in the era of the internet and social media is distinguished by reaching people in their virtual lives — typically characterised by more free expression — and has yielded the kind of “big data” that political campaign strategists previously could not envisage. Big data, in the era of super-enhanced analytics (also enabled by vast computing power...

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