Forget Cambridge Analytica. Facebook Openly Helped Obama’s Campaign.
The left has been working overtime to make the saga of Cambridge Analytica the biggest story in politics, but the idea that this is the first time a presidential candidate has ever mined social media data is a laughable one at best.
Following a well-publicized expose on the campaign company that aired on the UK, Facebook stocks slid and social media users began trending the hashtag #DeleteFacebook, as if they only now woke up and realized that someone was out there paying attention to all the personal crap they’ve been posting on their walls. We’d say this speaks more to the ignorance and naivete of the American youth than the dirty deeds of President Trump’s hired guns, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is that Cambridge Analytica is far from the first company to use Facebook data to help a politician win.
Indeed, some very, very prominent politicians.
Former Obama for America campaign executive Carol Davidsen spoke out on Monday, telling the world that if they were concerned about how Facebook (poorly) guarded its data in 2016, they should be even more shocked by how they did it in 2012.
According to Davidsen, the Obama campaign was basically able to “ingest the entire social network” of the United States in the hunt for targeted voter data they could then use to guide their strategy. Facebook realized what they were doing and took measures to stop it…but the horse was out of the barn.
“Where this gets complicated is, that freaked Facebook out, right? So they shut off the feature,” she said. “Well, the Republicans never built an app to do that. So the data is out there, you can’t take it back, right? So Democrats have this information.
“I’m a Democrat, so maybe I could argue that’s a great thing, but really it’s not in the overall process,” Davidsen continued. “That wasn’t thought all the way through and now there’s a disadvantage of information that, to me, seems unfair. But I’m not Facebook.”
This week, she said that after the election was over, executives from Facebook – while perhaps irritated at the easy accessibility of their data – weren’t too bothered by it. After all, they’re Democrats, too.
“They 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.
Facebook has taken extraordinary measures to fight off the bad publicity coming from the Cambridge Analytica fallout, including banning the company from their network. But they can’t erase their own partisan past.
If this scandal helps people realize that Facebook is not a “good thing” for this country, so much the better. But let’s please not pretend like the Trump campaign did something outrageous and illegal. They were traveling an already-paved road.