The whole Cambridge Analytica “scandal” is not really a scandal. The only reason it’s left-wing newsworthy (i.e., New York Times, CNN) is because they did some work for the Trump campaign. But as it turns out, the Obama for America campaign used Facebook data too.
And they did it with the social media giant’s blessing.
Anything that stands even a remote chance of making Trump (or his supporters) look bad is noteworthy to mainstream media. The idea that Cambridge Analytica “manipulated” the election by mining user data from Facebook is the type of story they love.
Unfortunately, aside from being a non-story, it also proves how hypocritical liberal media is. They had no problem with the Obama campaign employing similar tactics during the 2012 election cycle.
Carol Davidson, the data expert who worked on the OFA campaign from 2011 through 2012, spilled the beans on Twitter. In a series of tweets, the former director of integration and media analytics explained their procedures.
As part of their effort, the campaign used Facebook’s Application Programming Interface (API) to access a “social graph” that maps user connections. Using the interface allowed OFA to gain access to users’ friends when they logged-in to the campaign website with Facebook.
Additionally, Davidson confirmed that Facebook officials knew this was happening.
Facebook and Team Obama
“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,” she wrote.
Even worse, Facebook didn’t care. At least not then.
“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,” Davidson wrote in another tweet.
So as you can see, “data mining” is a frequently used tactic and not one used strictly in election campaigns. Although, as we’ve discussed previously, politics is very psychological in nature. Which means very few things happen by accident in the political arena.