I just read an incredibly disturbing article called “How the Trump Campaign Built an Identity Database and Used Facebook Ads to Win the Election.”
Hang on a minute. Before you click the link, know that this is a rabbit hole likely to wreck your sleep tonight, and possibly for the foreseeable future.
If you’re OK with that, or you’ve been sleeping like crap anyway, here’s the lede:
There may be some fake news on Facebook, but the power of the Facebook advertising platform to influence voters is very real. This is the story of how the Trump campaign used data to target African Americans and young women with $150 million dollars of Facebook and Instagram advertisements in the final weeks of the election, quietly launching the most successful digital voter suppression operation in American history.
Still with me? Here’s the money shot:
Trump’s presidential election victory is the most successful digital voter suppression operation in American history. The secret weapons in Trump’s digital arsenal were Project Alamo, his database of 220 million people in the United States, and the Facebook Advertising Platform. By leveraging Facebook’s sophisticated advertising tools, including Facebook Dark Posts, Facebook Audience-Targeting, and Facebook Custom Audiences from Customer Lists, the Trump campaign was able to secretly target Hillary Clinton’s supporters and covertly discourage them from going to the polls to vote.