Thursday, March 22, 2018

Facebook Data Mining-- "Good" For Obama, "Bad" For Trump-- What About You?

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The Left is outraged that President Trump's campaign used data mining to help win the 2016 election---but the media, and certainly not the Democrats and progressives, had any problem with it when the Obama campaign did the same thing to a greater degree.

The same news media that celebrated the wisdom of Obama using Facebook data, is ablaze with righteous indignation that the Trump people would do such a thing.


However, the real takeaway from this is, "What about the 50 million plus people who got mined?"

Be Informed.

First, The Issue

Back in 2014, a professor at Cambridge University built a Facebook app that involved a personality quiz. About 270,000 users of the app agreed to share some of their Facebook information, as well as data from people on their friends' list. As a result, about 190 million Facebook users ended up as part of this data-mining operation.

The app and the data became part of what we now know as the consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica (CA).

Although according to CBS News, Trump used CA during the primaries, he didn't use them during the general election. He used data provided by the RNC---but that's not the point.

Investors Business Investor's Daily says the reason he didn't use them in the general election is that he tested the accuracy of the Cambridge group and found that the Republican Party data was "vastly more accurate."

Second: Hypocrisy of the Media

Business Investors Daily says, "Since this involves the Trump campaign, the news accounts have been suffused with dark conspiratorial tones."

Fox says, "The Left is outraged that President Trump's campaign used the data mining method to win the 2016 election, but neither the media nor secular Left Democrats seem to mind that President Obama's campaign did the same thing."

Recent headlines tying the Trump campaign to data mining have been strikingly different in the reporting on Obama's use of the same data.

The New York Times carried this headline: "How Trump consultants exploited the Facebook data of millions"--- while the guys and gals on MSNBC, CNN, and the other far Left "news" channels wrung their hands fearing the end of all things good was near.

When Obama was exploiting Facebook users to help win his election, the media said it was an act of political genius. His tech guys were hailed as "analytic gurus" and treated like heroes.

When Trump attempted something similar, with unclear results, the media reported it as a travesty of democracy and further evidence that somehow he stole the election from Hillary---the inevitable first woman president.

The only difference between the Obama use of Facebook folks and that of Trump was first, Trump didn't use the data in the general election, and he didn't solicit it in the first place.

More importantly, according to Investors Business Daily, the vast majority of people involved in these data mining operations had no idea they were participating. In the case of Obama, they had no way of knowing that the Obama campaign material cluttering their feed wasn't just political urgings from their friends.

Third: Hypocrisy of Facebook

There's further hypocrisy in the way Facebook responded when they discovered Cambridge had sold Trump data.

They had no problem when Obama used their data.

Carol Davidsen, formerly with Obama's campaign, says if anything Facebook made it easy for Obama to vacuum up data on the millions of people. Although, she says, Facebook was surprised at how much data they were able to harvest, the social media company did "nothing to stop us once they knew what we were doing."

Staffers have said that Facebook actually reached out to them about using the data in the first place.

However, when Facebook found that Trump was a customer, it was immediately reported as a "scam" and a "massive data breach."

At first, Facebook gave the pretense they were surprised by all this.

Now, this week it has become clear that they were very aware of what they were doing.

Lawsuits have been filed and Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's founder, is expected to make a statement to the press.

Facebook is in damage control mode.

Fourth: What about the Users who were Mined?

The Facebook treasure trove gave Obama an unprecedented ability to reach out to nonsupporters. More importantly, the campaign could "deliver carefully targeted campaign messages disguised as messages from friends to millions of Facebook users."

The campaign readily admitted this week that this subtle deception was key to their Facebook strategy.

Teddy Goff, the Obama campaign's digital director, said at the time, "People don't trust campaigns. They don't even trust media organizations. Who do they trust? Their friends."

The Psalmist (27:10) wrote, "When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up."

When Facebook forsakes you, it's clearly time to be wise in what you share and with whom you share it. Or simply forget Facebook and show them the door---the door out, not the door in.

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Vigilant. Be Prayerful.