There is much nonsense going thru the Internet today about a Facebook data breach that was supposedly used to help elect Donald Trump. If you believe that Trump stole Facebook data to get elected, then I have a bullet train that I’d like to sell you. (Sorry, come to think of it, the people that bought the crap about the bullet train would believe this load of fertilizer too.) We also have it on good authority that neither George nor Aaron Park is believed to have impacted the results of the 2016 Presidential election.
Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg—a big time Liberal—was a zealous supporter of Mrs. Clinton in the last election. As you may recall, Mrs. Clinton’s only qualification to be President was that she slept in the same house with one for eight years—how often they spent together is a matter of speculation. Nevertheless, Zuckerberg is believed to be harboring aspirations for the Big House, I mean White House in 2020.
Given the partisan nature of Facebook and hostility that they have to anything religious, pro-Constitution, or generally Conservative, clearly Trump’s campaign could only benefit from Facebook data by stealing it, right?
Actually, Facebook gave the data on 50 million users away for free.
The reality is far more distressing: Facebook basically gave away our profile data. The company has always made all of this data available…
According to some excellent reporting by The New York Times, Cambridge Analytica built a personality survey app that required a Facebook log-in. That app was distributed by a compliant Cambridge University professor, who claimed the data would be used for research. This was entirely legal and in accordance with Facebook’s policies and the profile settings of its users. That the data was passed from the professor to Cambridge Analytica was a mere violation of Facebook’s developer agreement.
Around 270,000 Facebook users reportedly downloaded the survey app. So how did Cambridge Analytica harvest the data of some 50 million users? Because they were Facebook friends of people who downloaded the app.
Facebook’s policies and default privacy settings allow apps to collect massive amounts of profile data. That information is supposed to be used to provide you with a customized product; in reality, it’s usually tailored advertisements. The most painful part is that we users opened the door to these apps — the user has to download the app and grant it permission to access their Facebook profile. It tells you right up front what data it wants access to.
Taking the survey required allowing access to your Facebook profile. Thanks to Facebook’s default privacy settings (which only a small portion of users have changed) the survey app also pulled in the profile data of millions of Facebook friends.
That your data was readily available for exporting and exploiting — via your friends — should both appall and infuriate you. But this was not a breach or a leak; it was an exploitation of Facebook’s own tools and rules.
Sadly for Never-Trumpers and Democrats, no laws were broken, no furry animals were harmed, and no Russian spycraft was involved.
This was not just OK when Obama did it, it was brilliant.
The left is outraged that President Trump’s campaign used data mining to win the 2016 election – but neither the media nor Democrats seemed to mind when President Obama’s team did the same thing.
Shapiro noted that Facebook didn’t object when Obama’s team used tactics similar to what Trump’s campaign employed, noting that a former Obama campaign staffer recently admitted Facebook didn’t try to stop Obama’s 2012 re-election team because the company wanted him to win.
Obama’s campaign built a database of every American voter using the same Facebook developer tool used by Cambridge, known as the social graph API, according to the Washington Post. This technology allowed the Obama campaign to access information of voters to figure out “which people would be most likely to influence other people in their network to vote,” according to the paper.