Older men in Arkansas might see a close-up photo of President Donald Trump pumping his fist in the air, along with a message asking them to donate $30 to his campaign for a Super Bowl commercial.
Middle-aged women in California might see a photo of Trump pointing to a crowd, with a plea for them to give “any amount” to the campaign.
Before Election Day, politicians are expected to spend more than $1 billion to pelt voters with millions of these cheap online ads, which can be tailored to a voter’s most personal details — down to one household or even a single individual.
Experts warn that this ad-targeting system is still vulnerable to manipulation by foreign governments and domestic grifters trying to influence the election, just as they did in 2016. Those attempts could become more sophisticated this year as tech companies wrestle with a dysfunctional federal election watchdog agency and deploy haphazard safeguards that still offer plenty of loopholes.