If there is one thing we can learn from Cambridge Analytica it is that democracies the world over have been subjected to large scale, extremely well run PsyOps campaigns during key elections. The advent of social media and in particular advanced psychographic segmentation and micro targeting has unleashed a previously impossible ability to accurately and scientifically ‘buy’ influence through strategic social media campaigning.
Inevitably this has changed the nature of the world of Political Campaigning – and in turn it has also changed journalism since PsyOps is by nature often masquerading as real news.
Journalism is then in a existential crisis – in order for it to perform its function of delivering a accurate summary of information that a functioning democracy requires then it must develop a way of overcoming the distortional influence that psychographic segmentation is now playing in social media.
To change something one must first become aware of the need for change – awareness is the first step towards change. Journalism as a community will need to re-define its remit and responsibilities in order to fulfill its most basic functions of addressing societal need for providing a basis on which political decision making and policy decision making are based. In short we derive our mental view of the world we live through a filter of news and information, and increasingly inadvertently through carefully crafted PsyOps campaigns.
Industry standards for how to deal with PsyOps will be required in order to help journalism fulfill its original role of informing and educating.