I’ve had a set of notes for a blog post about developments in political advertising over the last few years, but inspired by this Vox approach of ‘just update the old things and make them better’, I’ve instead gone back to improve and update my 2016 long-read about trying to contain misinformation in politics.

This new version can be read here.

The main changes are:

  • Incorporating new material:
    • The Constitution Unit report contains more information on south australia and new zealand.
    • Additional examples from the elections since.
    • Lords committee report, and evidence given.
    • Added some sections where rhetoric about facebook implies larger issues.
    • Polling on if people think it is regulated versus if it should be.
  • There’s a general restructure, especially pulling some later material forward to keep the conclusion cleaner.
  • The overall conclusion hasn’t changed, but has been made much clearer.
  • Similarly the introduction has been replaced. A summary has been added to the very top to take some of the load off and be clear about the conclusions.
  • General touch-up on the writing throughout.
  • Style-wise tried to get a bit more consistent. A trend in Aotearoa New Zealand towards calling it that seems right to me, so changed first mention.
  • Dropped:
    • Slight legal change in New Zealand meant taking out a section.
    • Also dropped a little aside dig at vote leave. It reads a little better not hitting as direct a remainer trigger points, given almost all of it was written pre-referendum.
    • There was a section on the backfire effect that I’ve become increasingly less convinced by. Think if it’s a good idea it needs to be one without being backed by possibly suspect science.

The original PDF is still available here.