Black hat politics: online dirty tricks

I’m fascinated by politics. As a marketer, I’m regularly intrigued by the sophistication of many political campaigns and simultaneously amazed at the crudeness of others. The more I see online marketing grow, the more scared I am of the potential for political manipulation. I put together this presentation on some of the dirty tricks politicians and their campaigns now have at their disposal:



It’s something of a different kind of post from me - both in style (this presentation was written to be read rather than presented) and in substance (I don’t talk about politics much). I’d love to hear your feedback and ideas in the comments.

Just to repeat the disclaimer in the presentation:

- All examples are made up unless explicitly linked to real events - None of the real examples in this presentation have opposing politicians behind them (as far as I know!) - I’ve chosen to demonstrate examples from the perspective of the right attacking the left, but all examples could work in either direction

Finally - I’m not looking to start a political debate - there are plenty of fora for that on the internet. This is about tactics and defences rather than ideology.

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Update: Emily wrote a counter-point over on the Evolve blog about some things politicians should be doing online.

About the author
Will Critchlow

Will Critchlow

Will founded Distilled with Duncan in 2005. Since then, he has consulted with some of the world’s largest organisations and most famous websites, spoken at most major industry events and regularly appeared in local and national press. For the...   read more