Even with campaign season over, politicians continue to use the data collected online during the 2012 election. Daily Download’s Lauren Ashburn and Howard Kurtz look back at the 2012 election with Harper Reed, former chief technology officer for Obama for America, who managed digital strategy for President Obama’s re-election.
While the press is falling over itself in search of horrifying adjectives to describe the Facebook “data breach,” calling it the scandal of the century (one example of this henny-penny stuff is in this morning’s Axios, for example) they seem to have forgotten the way they treated President Obama’s use of data on millions of Facebook users to win reelection in 2012.
Back then, Obama was described as a genius – genius! – who figured out how to tap into Facebook’s ocean of Facebook data on users — and their friends — to microtarget messages. Oh, the mystique of the Obama hipsters, so attuned to data, so the trope went. Ever wonder why pathetic little punky operatives such as Ben Rhodes and David Plouffe and Jon Favreau and David Axelrod got such inflated reputations in the press? The mastery of data on the data-side and the press’s belief that Team Obama was in completely tune with high tech data-mining was one reason.
Unlike then-candidate Donald Trump, the Obama campaign collected the data itself, and used it right up the election. Anyone who downloaded the Obama 2012 app agreed to give the campaign access to their own data, as well as all the data on their friends, without their permission. More than a million did, which means the campaign had access to tens of millions of unwitting Facebook members.
It certainly dwarfs anything the Russians might have done with Facebook and the elections.
Meanwhile, Cambridge Analytica used data collected from people who thought would be used only for “academic purposes,” the scale was much smaller — 270,000. who downloaded that app — and the data was old by the time the election rolled around. It makes one wonder why the reaction to each of these two events was so different.
Investor’s Business Daily has a good piece on this whole problematic double standard, titled:
And if you want a sense of how deep the lovefest between Mark Zuckerberg and President Obama really was, get a load of the photo they found, here. Feel the love, guys.