algorithmic alienation of aspiring asylum seekers

Thanks to Peter Holley for sharing this with me. The Finnish Foreign Ministry has launched a “don’t come” Facebook campaign in Iraq and Turkey:

The thrust of the Ministry’s Facebook campaign is to persuade young men coming from conflict-ridden areas that it’s not work the risk and expense to come to Finland, said Finns Party MP Sampo Terho.

“This realistic message about the possibility of receiving asylum status in Finland is in the best interests of Finland as well as those who are planning the journey. If it’s practically a sure bet that you will be repatriated, why then would you waste up to 10,000 euros on the trip?”  Terho queried.

According to the Finns Party parliamentary group the campaign has been rolled out in Arabic and is directed at young men planning to travel to Finland to seek refuge. The Foreign Ministry said Friday morning that the Facebook update had received close to 80,000 views.

Terho, who is the head of the Finns Party parliamentary group, said that the aim of the campaign is to try to curb the so-far “uncontrolled” influx of people.

It makes the British Home Office’s ‘Go Home’ van seem remarkably low tech in comparison:

Given what seems likely to be a hardening climate of opinion across Europe, it strikes me that some disturbing examples of digital authoritarianism might be enacted, in a register of exceptionalism, normalising their potential wider application in the future. As Peter observed to me, it’s the use of the capacity for modelling built into the Facebook platform that’s really interesting here: the efficacy of the intervention rests upon a claimed capacity to identify and engage with “young men planning to travel to Finland to seek refuge”. How might this same ambition manifest itself domestically?

About Mark