Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared before Congress Tuesday but the hearing was far from achieving any meaningful headway. Most of Zuckerberg's responses included "I'll have my team follow up with you on that," or "I'll have to check with my team." The answers that didn't involve referring to his team saw Zuckerberg citing the company's basic policy and functions. In reality, the questions posed by most of the Senators revealed they did not truly understand how the platform worked. One Senator did manage to scrape at the heart of the issue when he referred to the 2012 Obama campaign's use of Facebook to win the election and that is where the true hypocrisy of this hearing lies.
When you take a look at what spurred this hearing, it was largely put in motion by the Cambridge Analytica scandal where a third party was able to glean data about users in order to target them with political ads. In reality was not even a scandal, it wasn't even anything new that hasn't been done for years. In fact, the Obama campaign used Facebook to gain a massive political advantage by doing exactly what Cambridge Analytica did and the Obama campaign's media director even bragged about it and confirmed Facebook was aware of it. Let's take a look at exactly what down and why the current hearing spurred by the alleged misuse of the social media platform in favor of the Trump campaign is such a farce.
The former media director for the Obama administration's presidential campaign Carol Davidsen confirmed recently on Twitter that the campaign used massive amounts of user's personal information to their advantage on here is what she said. "Facebook was surprised we were able to suck out the whole social graph, but they didn’t stop us once they realized that was what we were doing," Davidsen said. "They came to office in the days following election recruiting & were very candid that they allowed us to do things they wouldn’t have allowed someone else to do because they were on our side."
"I am also 100% positive that Facebook activity recruits and staffs people that are on the other side," she continued. "I worked on all of the data integration projects at [Obama for America]. This was the only one that felt creepy, even though we played by the rules, and didn’t do anything I felt was ugly with the data," Davidsen said. Now let me explain exactly what Davidsen is referring to because it is exactly what Congress is drilling Zuckerberg over now, except they are focusing on how it was used in favor of Trump and completely overlooking how Obama did the same thing but three times the scale of Cambridge Analytica.
The Obama campaign utilized an app called "Obama For America", that app was downloaded by around 1 million users but unbeknownst to those users, they were also signing away their friend's personal information when they downloaded the app. This resulted in the Obama campaign accessing roughly 189 million friend profiles that didn't authorize the app and targeted them with political propaganda. Those profiles who did not consent to have their information shared were targeted with requests to register to vote, give money, vote or look at a video.