Elder Patriot – As information about Cambridge Analytica’s role in supplying the personal data of 50 million Americans to the Trump campaign continues coming to light we have learned that the Trump administration didn’t violate any laws.
But Facebook is guilty on a number of fronts. Here’s why.
According to a CNBC report:
Academic Aleksandr Kogan and his company Global Science Research created an app called “thisisyourdigitallife” in 2014. Users were paid to take a psychological test and the app collected the data. It also gathered data on a person’s Facebook friends, according to the reports.
In this way, 50 million Facebook profiles were mined for data. Kogan then shared this with Cambridge Analytica, which allowed the firm to build a software solution to help influence choices in elections, according to whistleblower Christopher Wylie, who revealed the alleged practices to both newspapers.
Wylie claimed the data sold to Cambridge Analytica was then used to develop “psychographic” profiles of people and deliver pro-Trump material to them online.
Cambridge Analytica has denied any of this data was used in connection to the Trump campaign.
Whether or not it was used or not is immaterial to any alleged wrongdoing by Trump’s campaign team.
Trump’s campaign reported its payments to Cambridge Analytic on the spending reports it submitted to the Federal Elections Commission as the law required. At least when it comes to campaign finance law, the Trump administration fulfilled its legal obligations.
Not so for the hard-left team at Facebook or the Obama campaign during the 2012 election.
As we opined more than a week ago following a series of tweets from Carol Davidsen, the Obama campaign’s Director for Media Analytics during 2012, that revealed the extent of their mining of personal data from Facebook, it was obvious that both Facebook and Obama’s campaign violated FEC reporting requirements.
Federal Election Commission regulations consider providing material support given to a candidate as an “in kind contribution” and therefore it must be reported as such on the candidates finance filing.
Clearly it was not or it would’ve been discovered at that time. Facebook had used its enormous information gathering capability to give an advantage to the Democrats. Even more egregious this advantage didn’t end with the 2012 election. Facebook created a permanent imbalance in data to future Democrat candidates.
“We were actually able to ingest the entire social network of the U.S. that’s on Facebook, which is most people.”
“So [then] they shut off the feature.”
“The Republicans never built an app to do that. So the data’s out there — you [Facebook] can’t take it back. The Democrats have this information, so when they look at a voter file and someone comes to them, they can immediately be like ‘Oh, here are all the other people that they know, and here are people they can help us persuade, because they’re really good friends with that person.’”
“The Republicans do not have that information and will not get that information. I’m a Democrat; so maybe I could argue that’s a great thing, but really it’s not, in the overall process. That wasn’t thought all the way through and now there’s a disadvantage of information that to me seems unfair.
Was this the reason that James Comey allowed the DNC to hire a private firm to analyze the data breach of its servers? I always questioned why the F.B.I. handed off the investigation of a breach that threatened our election rather than handle it in house as is its responsibility.
Between that decision and the decision not to verify the Russian dossier before using it as the key evidence when making an application to conduct surveillance on the Trump campaign, the question becomes to what extent had the Obama administration corrupted every government agency over which it had control?
Regardless, because of Facebook’s 2012 decision to lend support to the Obama campaign the Clinton campaign was also the beneficiary of Facebook’s improprieties. It won’t end there either.
The data advantage that Democrats now have extends to every candidate that they choose to share it with.
This amounts to hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars of in kind contributions to past and future Democratic candidates. And, not a penny of it was declared on FEC filings of even a single candidate.
There is no way to ever level that playing field.
The question that remains is what to do with Facebook. How do you sufficiently punish a company that purposely shared the personal information of its users in order to deliberately create a permanent structural distortion between America’s two major political parties?