RALEIGH – The Cambridge Analytica hysteria sweeping mainstream media has made its way to North Carolina as Leftists latch on to the fact that Sen. Thom Tillis and the N.C. Republican Party used the firm for campaign targeting.
Never mind that the whole controversy is being completely manufactured – the firm used micro-targeting techniques to customize political ads based on Facebook data, much like any advertising or marketing firm leverages data to drive sales – now media here in Raleigh is parroting Leftist lies and describing the tactic as “stealing data” and a “data breach.” Oh, and, ‘Russia!’, of course.
“The data firm accused of stealing the private information of more than 50 million Facebook users may have used that information to help U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis win his seat in 2014.
North Carolina voters were among the first in the U.S. to be targeted by Cambridge Analytica, which boasted that its cache of “psychographic data” could be used to build personality profiles of voters and target political ads at them to influence their behavior.
Much of that data appears to have come from Facebook profiles.
One of the founders of Cambridge Analytica said the firm bought Facebook data, starting in 2014, from a Russia-linked researcher who claimed he was gathering it for academic study. It was gathered using a Facebook personality quiz that also took personal data from a user’s friends without their knowledge.
Roughly 270,000 people downloaded and shared personal details with the app.
Facebook reportedly learned of the data breach more than two years ago but did not tell users. Instead, the social media giant told Cambridge Analytica to delete the unauthorized data. The firm claimed it did, but copies of the database still exist.”
By constantly using the word “breach” many reporters are trying to insinuate that someone stole voter data that typically is off limits. WRAL actually uses the word “steal” outright.
But one inconvenient fact creates a problem for this narrative. Cambridge Analytica was allowed to pull that profile data. Facebook only changed its policy in early 2015, and Tills was elected in 2014.
Not that First in Freedom Daily is inclined to defend Tillis on much of anything. The proud RINO is the epitome of what is wrong with Washington, D.C. and we look forward to his term expiration and subsequent primary defeat.
However, WRAL is attempting to paint this manufactured controversy as discrediting of Tillis’ 2014 election victory over incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan. It was close – approximately 50,000 votes – but that is more likely due to Tillis’ badly run campaign and a history of not living up to his conservative campaign rhetoric during his tenure as Speaker of the N.C. House.
WRAL goes on to pump Democratic leaders intimating that the “stealing” of data and massive “data breach” led to Hagan’s and other Democrats’ losses across the State in 2014.
“I don’t know if it had any direct impact but it certainly was a trial run for what happened in 2016 here in the elections across our country,” [NCDP Chairman Wayne] Goodwin said. “I would never have thought that North Carolina would have been the guinea pig for this type of activity.”
Goodwin said many questions need to be answered to safeguard the integrity of elections in the social media age.
“We can’t control or know the algorithms of what data, what ads, what information – fake news, real news – we don’t know what all is sent our way,” he said. “If you’re bombarded with this stuff by someone who’s weaponizing data tuned in just to what your trigger points are, no telling what the outcome could be at election time.”
Part of living in a free society means being bombarded by messages we don’t like. Another part of living in a free society is (supposed to be) embracing individual responsibility for your actions and exercising free will. The entire Facebook/Cambridge Analytica/Russia scare is predicated on the notion that people don’t have free will; that somehow these targeted political ads forced people to vote a certain way and undermined a series of elections.
The “reporter” makes no mention of the Obama campaign employing the same data harvesting tactics in 2012, because, of course, Obama is on their side. Then it was cutting edge, now it is “stealing” and manipulation.
The double standard is absurd. WRAL is doing its best to promote the absurdity.
Actually, in a less scientific way, the mainstream Leftist media like WRAL is gleefully preying on the fears of potential voters, targeting them with motivating, alarmist, false reporting, and hoping that it somehow the contrived narrative translates into displacing the Republican majorities on Jones Street and hurting Republicans in Washington, D.C..
Expect more non-stories to be front page news for local and national media for as long as their Leftist friends don’t hold the reigns of power.