Cambridge Analytica had a detailed 27-page blueprint for making Donald Trump victorious in the 2016 presidential election according to exclusive new reporting in The Guardian newspaper. The internal company document which was leaked by a high-level source from the company, explains how data was used to create 10,000 different ads that supported Trump. These ads were all played to different targeted audiences during the summer and fall of 2016, and the ads were viewed billions of times.
According to the blueprint, Google, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube were all used as part of the plan to make Trump president. Using these social media sites, Cambridge Analytica developed proprietary and “extensive survey research, data modelling and performance-optimising algorithms” that were used to determine which audiences were shown which ads.
The former employee who provided the blueprint to the Guardian explained how the very-detailed plan set forth all of the techniques that were used during the presidential Trump campaign. It was developed by senior Cambridge Analytica executives who were responsible for and most involved in the company’s work for Trump. It shows how data obtained from social media sites was used to “micro-target US voters with carefully tailored messages about the Republican nominee across digital channels.”
“This is the debrief of the data-driven digital campaign that was employed for Mr. Trump,” said Brittany Kaiser, 30, who was Cambridge Analytica’s business development director until recently.
“There was a huge demand internally for people to see how we did it,” Kaiser said, referring to the 2016 campaign. “Everyone wanted to know: past clients, future clients. The whole world wanted to see it. This is what we were allowed to confidentially show people if they signed a non-disclosure agreement.”
Kaiser said the document was used for internal training presentations to Cambridge Analytica employees in several different offices in different countries after Trump won the election. It was intended to provide information and insights as to how the data firm helped engineer Trump’s stunning victory.
Kaiser maintains that the methodologies which the blueprint describes are within the law, even though they are possibly unethical and definitely controversial.
Recent news coverage about Cambridge Analytica’s acquisition of data from more than 50 million Facebook users is shedding new light on the questionable practices of social media companies who share user data with outside firms who may use the data in ways which the users find objectionable.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.