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March 22, 2018

"How FaceBook Went From Being an 'Ideal Way' To Reach Voters to Being 'Weaponized'
(Hint: A Republican Won)"

Great headline from Elizabeth Harrington on how the narrative of 2012 -- that Obama deployed his smart, urban techsperts to mine FaceBook for personal information to microtarget voters (and how this was Good and Very Very Clever) went to being the "weaponization" of FaceBook when Cambridge Analytica did the same thing.

Imagine a political campaign using social media to learn your spending habits, look at your web browsing history, get your cell phone number, and ultimately knock on your door. What if that campaign used a third party app to trick their supporters into giving you the keys to everything about them and, in turn, millions of their friends?

What would the media say?

Naturally the team behind it would be the "geek squad." The campaign would be celebrated for its "Big Data Brains." The media would applaud these "digital wizards" at the "forefront of campaign technology."

That, of course, was the praise heaped on Barack Obama's 2012 reelection campaign. It wasn't nefarious for Obama to have the head of Google recruiting talent, choosing technology, and coaching Obama's campaign manager. Nor for Facebook to be on their "side."

But when a consulting firm—not even the Trump campaign itself—does essentially the same thing, and a Republican wins the White House? "Launch a criminal investigation!" "Mark Zuckerberg must testify!" "Regulate social media!" "Delete your Facebook!"

That text is loaded with links to the quotations in the original, but you'll have to hit the link for that.

She contrasts with the new language about Cambridge Analytica doing exactly what Obama's data-miners did, only a smaller scale, and oh boy, let me issue this necessary WHIPLASH WARNING.

More from Stephen Green here, reporting on Mark Zuckerberg's modified limited hang-out. He admits that Cambridge Analytica data-mined, and talks about how he stopped that (in 2014!).

But he fails to mention he permitted Barack Obama to do the same in 2012.

And that's not me saying that-- that's an Obama campaign director for online campaigning saying that.

A former Obama campaign official is claiming that Facebook knowingly allowed them to mine massive amounts of Facebook data -- more than they would’ve allowed someone else to do --because they were supportive of the campaign.

In a Sunday tweet thread, Carol Davidsen, former director of integration and media analytics for Obama for America, said the 2012 campaign led Facebook to "suck out the whole social graph" and target potential voters. They would then use that data to do things like append their email lists.


When Facebook found out what they were doing, they were "surprised," she said. But she also claimed they didn’t stop them once they found out...

Tweets taken from IJR's pointer:

Another article I read reported that FaceBook permitted Obama to keep "sucking up the social graph" of all FaceBook users -- but asked them to stop after the election.

And so, what once was cool and hip and smart and completely, totally good and right now becomes criminal and Russian collusion when a firm hired by a Republican does it.

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