Facebook permitted the campaign of Barack Hussein unfettered access to the social media platform to mine for voters in 2012, an admitted key to Hussein’s re-election. Facebook denied the Trump campaign the same access, a clear violation of established law.
Why would facebook make such a blatant, seemingly partisan move? According to Carol Davidsen, former director of Obama for America’s Integration and Media Analytics, facebook told her that the Obama campaign was allowed uninhibited access to the very valuable data it denied the Trump campaign because “they were on our side.”
The social media giant is being lambasted for failing to verify that data from an estimated 50 million users was deleted by the Steve Bannon-led firm, Cambridge Analytica.
However, a former Obama campaign staffer has come forward to claim that Facebook turned a blind eye to the same issue in 2012.
Carol Davidsen, former director of Obama for America’s Integration and Media Analytics, reveals the manner the Democratic presidential campaign was freely given access. Furthermore, she openly claims that Facebook gave the Obama campaigners a pass because of their political affiliation.
Knowingly or not, facebook is in violation of the Equal Time Rule that applies to mass media. Originally written in 1927, the rule was implemented to prevent radio (and later television) stations from unfairly influencing elections. It certainly extends to today’s very popular and powerful social media….
“The equal-time rule specifies that U.S. radio and television broadcast stations must provide an equivalent opportunity to any opposing political candidates who request it. This means, for example, that if a station gives a given amount of time to a candidate in prime time, it must do the same for another candidate who requests it, at the same price if applicable. This rule originated in §18 of the Radio Act of 1927; it was later superseded by the Communications Act of 1934.”
Facebook stock dropped sharply in response to news of its political partisanship.
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.
— Carol Davidsen (@cld276) March 19, 2018
In a November 2012 Time article just after the election, the Obama campaign admits to mining personal facebook pages for new voters and the critical contribution it made to Obama’s victory….
“In the final weeks before Election Day, a scary statistic emerged from the databases at Barack Obama’s Chicago headquarters: half the campaign’s targeted swing-state voters under age 29 had no listed phone number. They lived in the cellular shadows, effectively immune to traditional 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. For supporters, the app appeared to be just another way to digitally connect to the campaign. But to the Windy City number crunchers, it was a game changer. “I think this will wind up being the most groundbreaking piece of technology developed for this campaign,” says Teddy Goff, the Obama campaign’s digital director.
That’s because the more than 1 million Obama backers who signed up for the app gave the campaign permission to look at their Facebook friend lists. In an instant, the campaign had a way to see the hidden young voters. Roughly 85% of those without a listed phone number could be found in the uploaded friend lists. What’s more, Facebook offered an ideal way to reach them. “People don’t trust campaigns. They don’t even trust media organizations,” says Goff. “Who do they trust? Their friends.”
The campaign called this effort targeted sharing. And in those final weeks of the campaign, the team blitzed the supporters who had signed up for the app with requests to share specific online content with specific friends simply by clicking a button. More than 600,000 supporters followed through with more than 5 million contacts, asking their friends to register to vote, give money, vote or look at a video designed to change their mind. A geek squad in Chicago created models from vast data sets to find the best approaches for each potential voter. “We are not just sending you a banner ad,” explains Dan Wagner, the Obama campaign’s 29-year-old head of analytics, who helped oversee the project. “We are giving you relevant information from your friends.”
Early tests of the system found statistically significant changes in voter behavior. People whose friends sent them requests to register to vote and to vote early, for example, were more likely to do so than similar potential voters who were not contacted. That confirmed a trend already noted in political-science literature: online social networks have the power to change voting behavior. A study of 61 million people on Facebook during the 2010 midterms found that people who saw photos of their friends voting on Election Day were more likely to cast a ballot themselves. “It is much more effective to stimulate these real-world ties,” says James Fowler, a professor at the University of California at San Diego, who co-authored the study.
Campaign pros have known this for years. A phone call or knock on the door from someone who lives in your neighborhood is far more effective than appeals from out-of-state volunteers or robo-calls. Before social networks like Facebook, however, connecting a supportive friend to a would-be voter was a challenge. E-mail, for instance, connects one person to a campaign. Facebook can connect the campaign, through one person, to 500 or more friends.”
An example of how Team Hussein was permitted access to personal facebook data (click image to enlarge)….
An example of how we used that data to append to our email lists. pic.twitter.com/VHhSukvXDY
— Carol Davidsen (@cld276) March 19, 2018