10 June 2016
On the eve of the European Championships we once again witness enormous tech developments. Companies see ample opportunity to show off their latest breakthroughs, for example goal-line technology and wearable tech. But also tech that is aimed at the on-looker is boasted during this Cup, such as Nokia’s VR camera that will capture some of the matches. Another hot-topic for visitors is the terror threat in France. The government has turned towards mobile devices to ensure safety and has developed an app to alert the public in the event of an attack. But ofcourse, the most important question relating to the Euro Cup is “Who will win?” Although renowned companies such as Goldman Sachs have always tried to predict the winners, no source has ever been as accurate as Paul the Octopus – who passed away after the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Unfortunately, our predictions for the newest face-off between countries – the Brexit referendum – will now again be based on gut-feeling, old-school opinion polls and social media analysis. Since the 2008 Obama campaign – the first president of the social media age – we are no longer surprised by the use of social media in political campaigns. This is also the case during the Brexit referendum, with everyone who matters (and more) engaging in the topic online. Numerous social media analyses looking at amounts of posts, followers, likes, and moreare carried out to predict the outcome – with one of the most sophisticated tools used (Sensei) ironically being backed by the European Commission. It is less known, however, that social media companies can also influence the outcomes of elections through their policies. By pushing an alert on their profiles, Facebook motivated 100.000 young Brits to register to vote in one single day – giving a huge boost for the ‘Remain’ campaign that is popular under young voters.
Luckily, we can turn to social media not only for analyses and political influence, but also for generating arguments for both sides of the debate, with this tool creating both pro- and anti-Europe scare stories on the fly.