Data analytics influenced past election campaign in Thailand

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Since Cambridge Analytica, a US data analytics firm, came under pressure for its Big Data-based strategic influence on last year’s US elections – and allegedly also in Malaysia -, all attention has been drawn on what else the company might have “influenced” in the past.

The firm indeed boasts on its web page that it influenced a past election campaign in Thailand for an unnamed client.

The analytics firm, owned by UK-headquartered, opaque behavioural research company Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCI), claims on its webpage that it “built and managed the world’s largest campaign center” for an election campaign in Thailand.

It further said that it had used its “cutting-edge Behavioural Dynamics Institute methodology” enabling it to correctly determine Thai voter behaviour down to the constituency level, which resulted in considerable campaign savings for the client and permitted a more targeted use of resources – all centrally controlled from the operations center.”

The remark seems to be related to Thailand’s 1996 election when SCI (Cambridge Analytica was only founded in 2013) seems to have used behavourial analytics to support the campaign of Democrat candidate Chuan Leekpai who eventually became prime minister after a substantial tug-of-war with competing populist New Aspiration Party. The company illustrates its case study with the display of a Time magazine cover from March 30, 1998, with the title “Thailand’s comeback kid” with Leekpai being portrayed as the election winner.

The Behavioural Dynamics Institute is still part of SCI as a research facility for strategic communication studying mass behaviour, with the focus on persuasion and social influence and how to change behaviour for the benefit of clients. It led to the establishment of SCL in 1993 and obviously served a good purpose in Thailand during the 1996 elections.

Leekpai has been criticized during his term for economic policies benefiting banks and foreign investors, as well as for human rights violations. He stepped down as prime minister in 2001 – to be succeeded by Thaksin Shinawatra –  and as head of the Democrat Party in 2003.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Since Cambridge Analytica, a US data analytics firm, came under pressure for its Big Data-based strategic influence on last year’s US elections – and allegedly also in Malaysia -, all attention has been drawn on what else the company might have “influenced” in the past.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Since Cambridge Analytica, a US data analytics firm, came under pressure for its Big Data-based strategic influence on last year’s US elections – and allegedly also in Malaysia -, all attention has been drawn on what else the company might have “influenced” in the past.

The firm indeed boasts on its web page that it influenced a past election campaign in Thailand for an unnamed client.

The analytics firm, owned by UK-headquartered, opaque behavioural research company Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCI), claims on its webpage that it “built and managed the world’s largest campaign center” for an election campaign in Thailand.

It further said that it had used its “cutting-edge Behavioural Dynamics Institute methodology” enabling it to correctly determine Thai voter behaviour down to the constituency level, which resulted in considerable campaign savings for the client and permitted a more targeted use of resources – all centrally controlled from the operations center.”

The remark seems to be related to Thailand’s 1996 election when SCI (Cambridge Analytica was only founded in 2013) seems to have used behavourial analytics to support the campaign of Democrat candidate Chuan Leekpai who eventually became prime minister after a substantial tug-of-war with competing populist New Aspiration Party. The company illustrates its case study with the display of a Time magazine cover from March 30, 1998, with the title “Thailand’s comeback kid” with Leekpai being portrayed as the election winner.

The Behavioural Dynamics Institute is still part of SCI as a research facility for strategic communication studying mass behaviour, with the focus on persuasion and social influence and how to change behaviour for the benefit of clients. It led to the establishment of SCL in 1993 and obviously served a good purpose in Thailand during the 1996 elections.

Leekpai has been criticized during his term for economic policies benefiting banks and foreign investors, as well as for human rights violations. He stepped down as prime minister in 2001 – to be succeeded by Thaksin Shinawatra –  and as head of the Democrat Party in 2003.

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