Time Magazine praised the 2012 Obama campaign for its innovative use of Facebook to identify potential voters, reporting it “was almost certain to be the norm” by the 2016 race.
However, Cambridge Analytica, the British firm that employed similar techniques to help Donald Trump’s campaign, is coming under intense media scrutiny for misappropriating Facebook’s data.
In a 2012 story titled, “Friended: How the Obama Campaign Connected with Young Voters,” Time reported weeks after Obama’s defeat of Republican nominee Mitt Romney that the president’s re-election campaign was concerned about not being able to adequately reach the youth demographic in their get-out-the-vote efforts.
“For a campaign dependent on a big youth turnout, this could have been a crisis. But the Obama team had a solution in place: a Facebook application that will transform the way campaigns are conducted in the future,” according to the news outlet.
“I think this will wind up being the most groundbreaking piece of technology developed for this campaign,” Teddy Goff, the Obama campaign’s digital director, told Time.
The technology involved an app that more than 1 million Obama backers signed up for, which gave the campaign the ability to access their friends list.
In a series of tweets on Sunday, Carol Davidsen, the Obama campaign’s director of integration and media analytics, explained how her team used Facebook’s “social graph” that maps users’ connections to access information on those friends, Fox News reported.
“Facebook was surprised we were able to suck out the whole social graph, but they didn’t stop us once they realized that was what we were doing,” Davidsen tweeted.
“They came to (the campaign) 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,” she added, in another tweet.
Davidsen spoke about the Obama campaign’s use of Facebook in this fashion in a 2015 speech.
In contrast to the Time story lauding Obama’s efforts, the New York Times reported that Cambridge Analytica has fallen under scrutiny for assisting the Trump campaign using an app that interfaced with Facebook to target potential voters based on their friends and affinities.
CNN reported in a similar vein on Tuesday in one story titled, “Trump isn’t the only Republican who gave Cambridge Analytica big bucks” and another headlined, “Cambridge Analytica researcher touted data-mining in Russia speech.”
The Daily Wire’s editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro noted the double standard in the Left’s view of the campaigns’ use of Facebook.
As reported by The Western Journal, last month Facebook changed its algorithm resulting in conservative news sites losing significant reach on the platform, while left-leaning ones gained more web traffic.
Conservative commentator Dan Bongino predicated conservatives will develop an alternative social media venue.
“The war on conservatives being waged by YouTube, Facebook,& Twitter will eventually boomerang on them. It may not be tomorrow but eventually they will learn the lesson that the MSM is slowly learning now,” Bongino wrote. “Eventually a conservative-friendly alternative will decimate their monopoly.”
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