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Facebook Hired Former UK Politicians to Help Campaigns Use the Service

This is a discussion on Facebook Hired Former UK Politicians to Help Campaigns Use the Service within the Technology forums, part of the Hobbies | Interests category; Facebook Hired Former UK Politicians to Help Campaigns Use the Service The social network is trying to become a political ...

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Old 05-10-2017
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Podcast Facebook Hired Former UK Politicians to Help Campaigns Use the Service

Facebook Hired Former UK Politicians to Help Campaigns Use the Service

The social network is trying to become a political tool by hiring former senior political campaign officials who have inside knowledge of how the general election campaigns work. Facebook’s recruits include a former Downing Street adviser to David Cameron. The company explained that their role is to help politicians and governments make good use of the social media.


Indeed, one can’t deny that reaching voters on Facebook has become important for election success. For instance, 2 years ago, the Conservatives spent over £1m on Facebook advertising. However, there has been growing concern over the ability of politicians to define the interests of Facebook users in order to target them. For example, there are 31 million registered Facebook accounts in the United Kingdom, and the local Electoral Commission is still investigating whether Leave.EU campaign failed to declare spending or support from a US firm that reportedly can target voters based on psychometric profiling gleaned from their social media activity. In the meantime, Leave.EU denies any wrongdoing.

Now Facebook hired advisers who are supposed to persuade political campaigns to use the network. Their duties include responding to queries from politicians about how to use Facebook and actively promoting its uses with policymakers and influencers in both electoral and governing bodies. However, no other comments on the detailed roles of the former party aides were provided – Facebook UK’s head of policy only confirmed that the company’s recruits worked closely with political parties.

It is believed that political parties have long lists of email addresses, phone numbers and Facebook IDs, which can help them target Facebook users with bespoke messages. It was reported that the UK main parties and other pressure groups are likely to have the details of around 10m British voters.

By the way, parties are also able to target opposition supporters by purchasing information that indicates party affiliation. For example, a couple years ago, the former Obama strategist turned Conservative adviser and developed a micro-targeting campaign in the south-west of England, which resulted in wiping out the Liberal Democrats in the region.
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