I knew there was something weird going on with my Facebook feed. There are plenty Liberal Democrat related items in it all the time, but I’ve noticed adverts for things I’ve been interested in. I’ve also noticed that the UK Liberal Democrat website now seems to tell me lots of things about the very excellent Mike Crockart. I suspected technical wizardry of some description and wondered what was coming next given the way that Austin Rathe and his colleagues seem to be able to get into my head.

The secret is out now. It’s called Operation Manatee. A manatee, as Wikipedia will tell you,  is a quite peaceful looking sea cow type thing that, interestingly, has prehensile lips. The left and right sides of the upper lip can move independently of each other. This clearly is not any sort of parallel to the Liberal Democrats. Manatee is based on the Obama campaign’s similarly marine-named 2012 Project Narwhal.  This enabled Obama’s campaign to send very specifically targeted emails on controversial subjects to those voters who would be sympathetic.

Manatee works in a similar way, using Facebook and YouTube. This video gives more details.

Over 2 million social media adverts to be placed in the final phase of the campaign, right up till close of poll on Thursday night. (more…)