Political Advertising On Social Media

TikTok doesn’t allow it.

Meanwhile, its social media competitors like Twitter and Facebook have liberalized the restrictive policies they instituted in the wake of falsehoods in the 2020 election cycle and January 6th.

“Twitter’s U.S. Ad Sales Plunge 59% as Woes Continue – In internal forecasts, the company projected that ad sales would keep declining, handing a tough challenge to its new chief executive”: https://tinyurl.com/ycy5x994

Now wait just a second, didn’t Elon Musk tell us Twitter had turned the corner, that advertisers were coming back? Yes, he did, but that turned out to be patently untrue. In other words, if you’re listening to Musk on Twitter you’re bombarded with misinformation, Elon even blocks information contrary to his mission. Ironically, you’ve got to go to mainstream media to get the straight story, but these same people addicted to Twitter and Musk see the mainstream media as the enemy. Credit Donald Trump, he’s vilified most mainstream news outlets, and we know he’s got a large constituency. Furthermore, non-right wing news outlets have been said to be unfairly biased, even though in many cases this is untrue. Bottom line, a lot of people are missing the news. And I mean facts. Like the decline in advertising above.

It’s fascinating to watch Twitter, not for the content but the business. What is end game here? Elon keeps destroying value, he’s made the service itself toxic with the lack of policing of false and outrageous content and mainstream advertisers are not coming back, why should they take a risk of their content being nestled next to heinous posts? Especially in light of the Bud Light blowback. Corporations are inherently risk averse. And now they’re all re-evaluating their marketing campaigns that feature marginalized groups attacked by the right wing. The key is to double-down. That’s how Patagonia became one of the most loved and respected brands in America.

Now the reason that Twitter and Facebook are allowing political ads is the money. Plain and simple. They’re not interested in discourse, enough about “free speech,” these social media sites depend on advertising to survive, Musk tried to institute a subscription model at Twitter, but it failed.

And one thing we know is political candidates have money. And despite all the hype about cable news and cable television, younger voters, the ones who will ultimately decide the 2024 election, don’t watch, they don’t even have cable subscriptions. But they are on social media. That’s the only way to reach them. And now with Apple blocking identifying factors, the bottom line is you’ve got to spend more to reach people, since you can’t target many individuals based on characteristics found in cookies. It’s a gold mine I tell you. Political candidacies are not businesses, they are one time events, you raise the money and spend it. You spend in pursuit of the win, but most people lose. And if you can get yourself in line for that spend…

Does anybody like Twitter? Does anybody like Facebook and its wholly-owned Instagram?

People tolerate Twitter, I haven’t heard someone testify about the service in years. And Twitter is a cult, albeit a somewhat large one. And what I mean here is either you’re in or you’re out, Twitter is not for casual users. Most people don’t even bother. They just hear about how bad it is.

As for Facebook, if you’re on it you’re pissed. Because of the algorithm. You don’t see what you want in your newsfeed. You keep being presented junk that you have to scroll through to get to the nougat. As for advertisers…talk about resentment of the algorithm… Facebook can put companies out of business, by not featuring, by burying them.

No one likes Facebook, even the people who are addicted to it. Who in this case are aged, youngsters have moved on.

As for Mark Zuckerberg, he appears more evil every day.

And Instagram? It’s the scourge of society. That’s where you go to feel inadequate. The Kardashians complained when Instagram decided to focus on video to compete with TikTok. Because the Kardashian empire is built on falsehood, subterfuge. They don’t look the same as their original pictures, they’ve had so much work done. It’s all an image, it’s got little to do with reality. Whereas on TikTok…

Think about it. Isn’t America the home of the best and the brightest? Isn’t Elon Musk once again the world’s richest man? How come Americans can’t compete with TikTok?

Because they put money first. And that’s their only goal, to make bread. The reason Steve Jobs catapulted Apple to being the number one company in the world is because he focused on the user experience. The user experience was key. Even to this day, it’s easier to cancel services on Apple than anywhere else. Just go into the settings and click. Whereas the cable company, the rest of the companies hide their cancellation buttons, they figure if they put up enough hurdles you won’t even bother. I once had to call Amazon to figure out how to cancel a streaming service I purchased through Prime. They’ve made it a bit easier now, but still…who can find what they want on Amazon with the morass of ads? No one there is worried about the customer experience. Amazon is solely about money. The ads. Working its employees to death. It’s still the everything store with fast delivery, but if there was an alternative we’d jump instantly. We’re proud to be Apple acolytes, but we’re embarrassed to admit we use Amazon.

This is what is wrong not only with American business, but American artists. Musicians are the worst. It’s all about the Benjamins. At least some of the rappers admit it. They want to become mini-corporations, it’s hard to align your interests with theirs. We’ve heard for decades now that the younger generation does not care. Hogwash, everybody cares. They might tolerate this behavior by their favorite, but it decreases belief and stickiness. Just because everybody else is jumping off a bridge, should you?

But the Chinese company has it right.

We love the algorithm! It serves us what we want!

And it’s like heavy metal or some new, marginalized music. The older generations hate TikTok in principle. They’ve never even gone on. They don’t understand it, they just decry it. Sign me up for that service!

TikTok is full of information. And personality comes first. Never do you think that the service is placing itself in front, above you, the customer comes first!

I know, I know, there’s all that China b.s. But even if TikTok has all that information and decides to use it… How valuable is it? We’ve turned China into the new Russia, the enemy, a country to be hated in principle. How did we end the Cold War? We talked to the Russians. Meanwhile, Biden is pulling back from China, never mind Trump before him.

No, TikTok is not refusing to take political advertising because it’s afraid of pissing of American politicos, but because it’s afraid of pissing off its users! TikTok wants to keep the experience sacrosanct. For longevity.

In America you want to build and sell. But nowhere have we heard that ByteDance is pumping TikTok to sell it.

In other words, TikTok is beating us at our own game. America has lost its values. America is now about class warfare, income inequality, aspiring to be a fat cat living a lifestyle others can’t afford. And you feel powerless in America, whereas using TikTok…it’s all personalized, you’re the most important element. You’re not served crap you don’t want to see.

And some of the stuff on TikTok is available elsewhere, in other words it’s not brand new. But via its algorithm, TikTok has found a way to serve up this information such that you’re titillated, you can’t wait to log on and see what’s going to come up next!

And what you like best is either raw information or people testifying as to their identity. Falsehood is anathema. Authenticity is everything.

But these lessons are lost on American competitors, America in general.

The stories about the falsehoods, the toxic political drivel on Twitter and Facebook, is just beginning. Meanwhile, every day there are stories about abuses on these platforms. Child porn on Instagram. Hell, they fired the content censors at Twitter, or they quit. There’s literally nobody home. They’ve opened the gates and let the lunatics take over the asylum. And we don’t like it!

I’m on Twitter a lot less. I was never on Facebook. I only use Instagram to watch Reels, because unlike with TikTok you can mute the audio and I can listen to music simultaneously while I do my back exercises.

When I go on TikTok I smile. Sure, occasionally I blow more time than I was planning to, but it’s so damn interesting. To peek into others’ lives. To learn more about subjects you’re interested in. You have to like something for it to become addictive. You start out loving dope. And you love TikTok.

TikTok is leaving money on the table by refusing political advertising. But it’s winning in the end. And critics can only evaluate platforms via financials so they miss it.

But the users don’t.

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