Carol Davidson, a former Obama campaign official according to Independent Journal Review (IJR), said in a series of Twitter posts Monday that the campaign mined a massive amount of Facebook data with the social media giant’s full blessing. She further claims that the amount of data gathering was more than Facebook would’ve allowed another user to get away with, but they allowed it because they supported the campaign.
IJR reports: 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.
Davidsen said Facebook was “surprised” when they found out what the campaign was doing, but that “in the days following election recruiting” they visited the campaign and “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.”
From IJR: Davidsen began the tweet thread with a link to a Time article outlining the Obama campaign’s Facebook targeting campaign, which she said was codenamed “Project Taargus.”
The Time article claimed: …more than 1 million Obama backers who signed up for the [Facebook-based 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.
An example of how we used that data to append to our email lists. pic.twitter.com/VHhSukvXDY
— Carol Davidsen (@cld276) March 19, 2018