Elder Patriot – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has launched a probe into Facebook to determine the extent of the internet goliath’s massive misuse of its users’ personal date.
In announcing the investigation Hawley said, “As the chief law enforcement officer in the state, I will pursue those who mishandle the private information of Missourians.”
Hawley is using the Cambridge Analytica breach to justify opening the investigation but he has a much larger target in mind.
Where Facebook claims to be a victim of Cambridge Analytica’s illegal data mining they have no defense against the admissions of Carol Davidsen who had served as the Director of Media Analytics for Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.
Davidsen admitted, via a series of tweets, that Facebook knew she was mining the personal data of its users and stood aside while her team was able to “suck the whole social graph” because “they were on our side.”
If this is proven to be true, Facebook violated Federal Election Commission reporting requirements for failing to report an “in kind” contribution that must be valued in the tens of millions of dollars.
Beyond the effect on the 2012 election that likely installed a Manchurian president, the data that was garnered by the DNC continues to be resident on DNC servers and has created a permanent data imbalance to the benefit of future Democrat candidates, including Hillary Clinton.
“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 do not have that information and will not get that information.
If you’re thinking this is all the purview of the Federal government, think again. While the FTC has already announced it has been investigating FB for some time, and the FEC is yet to admit that it is as well, the States’ Attorneys General also have a significant role to play. Remember the massive Tobacco lawsuit settlement that was brought by 46 states’ attorneys general and that cost big tobacco hundreds of billions of dollars?
Hawley has launched a civil investigation on behalf of the citizens of Missouri to determine whether, and to what extent, their personal information had been violated.
Hawley has demanded that Facebook produce records on the number of times it shared private user data with a political campaign, or a political action committee (PAC). Hawley also expects that evidence will reveal how many times Facebook accepted payment, or political deference, from these political organizations in exchange for supplying that personal information of its users. Hawley has also demanded evidence of how, and how often, Facebook notified users about their potential disclosure of personal data.
Hawley had previously brought a parallel action against Google that is still pending.
It is likely that Hawley’s aggressive prosecutions of Google and Facebook will be used to paint him as a political opportunist and engaging on a witch-hunt of his own in order to buttress his Senate run against incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill.
A sober analysis however reveals that Hawley is on solid footing. According to Cleveland State law professor Chris Sagers: “Its a solid case and I’m glad someone’s pursuing it.”
More importantly, Hawley is developing the evidence and expertise about the power of social media that is lacking in the senate today.
Hawley stated his intention is to hold social media companies to account should he be elected:
“The Senate has significant investigative powers. They don’t often use them, at least in a way that’s constructive for anything. They should be doing exactly what we’re doing here in Missouri.”
Hawley has indicated that he will refuse to go along with the swamp should he be elected. Mitch McConnell once considered Hawley his “number one recruit for the 2018 cycle.” Now Hawley refuses to endorse McConnell as Majority Leader should he unseat McCaskill.
Scott Paradise, Hawley’s spokesman was authorized to speak on the Missouri AG’s behalf:
“The Senate is broken and failing the people of Missouri.”
“Josh is running because he is not willing to tolerate the failure of the D.C. establishment any longer. He won’t tolerate Claire McCaskill’s failure. And he won’t tolerate Republican failure, either.”
It appears the days of Democrats being able to rely on social media as an unpaid Super PAC to tilt elections in their favor will be coming to an end if Josh Hawley has anything to do with it.