Barack Obama’s former director for media analytics told a shocked American public that Facebook allowed Team Obama campaign officials back in 2012 to mine tons of data that was collected on users by the social media site, and use it all for political purposes.
The collection normally would have been prohibited.
But because Facebook was “on our side,” it was allowed to go forth, the former campaign staffer said.
Shocked? Don’t be. Facebook is more political beast than social media friend.
Facebook representatives told Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign that they had been allowed to use the platform in ways that would have otherwise been prohibited, because Facebook was “on our side,” according to explosive claims from Obama’s former director for media analytics, Carol David send a series of tweets, Davidsen that Facebook was “surprised” that the Obama campaign was able to “suck out the entire social graph” (the “social graph” is an individual’s network of friends on Facebook), but did nothing to stop them once they found out. Davidsen also linked to a talk from 2015 in which she explained how Facebook’s privacy policies in 2012 allowed them to harvest data on friend networks across America.
Davidsen says that this gave the Democrats a massive advantage, as the Republicans did not gain access to the same data before Facebook shut off the feature.
“The privacy policies on Facebook were … if they opted in, they could tell us who all their friends were. So they told us who all their friends were…We were actually able to ingest the entire social network of the U.S. that’s on Facebook, which is most people.”
“Where this gets complicated is that freaks Facebook out. So they shut off the feature.”
“The Republicans never built an app to do that. So the data’s out there — you can’t take it back. The Democrats have this information, so when they look at a voter file and someone comes to them, they can immediately be like ‘Oh, here are all the other people that they know, and here are people they can help us persuade, because they’re really good friends with that person.’”
“The Republicans do not have that information and will not get that information. I’m a Democrat, so maybe I could argue that’s a great thing, but really it’s not, in the overall process. 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…”
According to Davidsen, the Obama campaign used that data to target voters through their friend networks, and motivate people to vote. I worked on all of the data integration projects at OFA” said Davidsen. “This was the only one that felt creepy.”