Facts Don’t Matter & Facebook Got Trump Elected

Posted on December 21st, 2016

One of the cold hard truths of the world is that facts don’t matter. I’d like to say that facts don’t matter “anymore” but that just wouldn’t be accurate. The facts have never mattered, and never will.

The only thing that has any merit in our existence, is how many people believe a specific position about a topic.

For example, let’s think about the very simple position that “Jews are bad”. Are Jews bad? It doesn’t really matter. What does matter, is how many people think that Jews are bad. Hitler was able to dedicate a large amount of his time & resources into convincing people that Jews are bad and as a result, he rose to power and was able to kill a lot of Jews (and invade a bunch of countries & a lot of other really bad stuff).

Getting elected or making almost any major decision as a society, almost never has anything to do with facts. It’s simply a matter of getting more people to believe your position rather than the competitors.

This is where social media comes into play.

Social media easily allows us to determine how many people believe a specific position. For example, do you believe that Trump should get elected or Hillary? A quick look on Facebook will tell us that Hillary has almost 10,000,000 Facebook followers, but Trump has 16,000,000 Facebook followers.

For all of the “fact checking” that Hillary’s campaign did, they failed to focus on the reality that the facts don’t matter. What matters is the number of people who believe in one position or the other. And it’s not facts that will sway Americans.

Facebook’s Algorithm Determines Our President.

Our presidential race is a media war that we experience every 4 years. Candidates compete to see how many people they can influence to take their position. They carefully craft their messages, raise money to spend on advertisements, and wip up grassroots volunteers to help spread the message.

But the biggest player in the presidential race is Facebook. There’s two reasons for this.

  1. On Facebook you can directly turn money into votes.
  2. Facebook’s algorithm directly determines how many people see your content, and how well your adspend performs.

By running a Facebook “like” advertising campaign you can purchase new followers for anywhere between $0.10 to $1 a follower. This allows you to directly turn money into followers. Then using voter registration data you can estimate how many of your followers are registered voters. The end result is you can come up with a rough formula of how much money you need to win the vote – all directly thanks to Facebook.

The most interesting part however, is the fact that Facebook’s algorithm directly determines how many people will see your content and how well your adspend will perform. See Facebook doesn’t care about the facts of your message, Facebook cares about the engagement of your message.

If you say something really crazy like “lets deport all muslims” Facebook isn’t looking at the message of what you’re saying, they are looking at how many people engage and respond.

The end result is that someone like Trump will not only go viral and reach more people for free, but when he’s running his Facebook “like” advertising campaign, he’ll get followers closer to $0.10 and someone like Hillary or Bernie will get followers closer to $1.

So by being the biggest media player in the game, and only caring about engagement, that’s how Facebook gave us president Trump.

Congratulations America, we just elected click bait for president.