Developing: Facebook May Have Broken Federal Law to Help Democrats

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With Facebook already mired in controversy over its privacy practices, a new allegation is being made that the social media giant’s actions in the 2012 presidential election violated federal law.

Writing on The Daily Signal, Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and manager of the think tank’s Election Law Reform Initiative, said Facebook’s efforts to support President Barack Obama “may constitute a major violation of federal campaign finance law as an illegal corporate campaign contribution.”

Obama defeated Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 election.

Von Spakovsky based his claim on comments made by Carol Davidsen, former media director for Obama for America.

“(Facebook representatives) came to office in the days following election recruiting & were very candid that they allowed us to do things they wouldn’t have allowed someone else to do because they were on our side,” Davidsen tweeted recently.

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She said that when Facebook executives saw what the campaign was doing with data they were able to access, “they didn’t stop us once they realized that was what we were doing.”

The U.K. Daily Mail reported that the Obama campaign was so adept at its data mining that it was able to obtain information on 15 million Facebook users.

In fact, according to a 2013 report in The New York Times, “The campaign’s exhaustive use of Facebook triggered the site’s internal safeguards.”

“The Obama campaign had no need for a third party organization like Cambridge Analytica to collect their data, either. Facebook itself worked with the campaign to help it gather information about users,” radio host Dan O’Donnell posted on WISN.

Did Facebook break the rules in 2012 by helping the Obama campaign?

Unlike Facebook’s leak of information to Cambridge Analytica, von Spakovsky said the issue here is not just privacy, but violation of campaign laws.

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The basis for that argument runs like this: Facebook would have charged anyone else for the services that the Obama campaign received for nothing. That would make Facebook’s actions what are known as in-kind contributions. Federal election law bans corporations from making those kinds of contributions.

With Facebook’s actions to help out Obama having been revealed, von Spakovsky wrote, it is time that the federal government open up an investigation.

“Although the statute of limitations may have already run out on this conduct by the Obama campaign, one thing seems certain: Davidsen’s admissions should provide a sufficient basis for opening a federal investigation of what may have been a serious violation of the law by the Obama campaign,” he wrote.

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
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Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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