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Hullabaloo


Friday, March 23, 2018

 
The Cambridge Analytica blueprint

by digby



The Guardian got a hold of the Cambridge Analytica sales pitch:

The blueprint for how Cambridge Analytica claimed to have won the White House for Donald Trump by using Google, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube is revealed for the first time in an internal company document obtained by the Guardian.

The 27-page presentation was produced by the Cambridge Analytica officials who worked most closely on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

A former employee explained to the Guardian how it details the techniques used by the Trump campaign to micro-target US voters with carefully tailored messages about the Republican nominee across digital channels.

Intensive survey research, data modelling and performance-optimising algorithms were used to target 10,000 different ads to different audiences in the months leading up to the election. The ads were viewed billions of times, according to the presentation.

The document was presented to Cambridge Analytica employees in London, New York and Washington DC weeks after Trump’s victory, providing an insight into how the controversial firm helped pull off one of the most dramatic political upsets in modern history.

“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 two weeks ago, when she left over a contractual dispute.

She is the second former employee to come forward in less than a week, talking exclusively to the Guardian about the inner workings of the firm, including the work she said it conducted on the UK’s EU membership referendum.

She said she had access to a copy of the same document now obtained by the Guardian, and had used it to showcase the campaign’s secret methods to potential clients of Cambridge Analytica.

“There was a huge demand internally for people to see how we did it,” Kaiser said of the 2016 race. “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.”

It's interesting, but there is this as well:

Cambridge Analytica has a reputation among political operatives for exaggerating its role in campaigns. A senior Trump campaign official who said they saw the document about a year ago claimed it took credit for some work that was done by the Republican national committee and Trump’s digital director, Brad Parscale.

I'm not sure that the RNC or Parscale deserve credit either. Trump "won" through TV, in my opinion, backed by the relentless negative messages about Clinton coming through the press and social media.

But what do I know? The fact remains that these people are assholes.

Check this out:

One of the most effective ads, according to Kaiser, was a piece of native advertising on the political news website Politico, which was also profiled in the presentation. The interactive graphic, which looked like a piece of journalism and purported to list “10 inconvenient truths about the Clinton Foundation”, appeared for several weeks to people from a list of key swing states when they visited the site. It was produced by the in-house Politico team that creates sponsored content.

The Cambridge Analytica presentation dedicates an entire slide to the ad, which is described as having achieved “an average engagement time of four minutes”. Kaiser described the ad as “the most successful thing we pushed out”.

Drudge played a role in that too. I wrote about this for Salon in 2016. Politico was right in the middle of it:
Mainstream publications have fed the notion with click-bait stories like this slide-show from Politico which sat at the top of their "most-read" list for months this year despite having been originally published back in 2013. As it turned out Drudge had been up to his old tricks. He had linked to a British tabloid story in which Abedin was quoted saying that she thought Clinton was beautiful which led to millions of drooling Drudge readers searching for "Clinton Huma lesbian."