Facebook has suspended Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), along with Cambridge Analytica, for violating policies around retention and data collection. The corporations which are running data operations for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign are also favor of Trump rather than his rival, Hillary Clinton. The nature of their roles is mysterious.
However, the suspension indicates the company obtained users data without the user’s consent. Trump’s data operations team wanted to get an advantage in reaching voters.
The social network stated it could not determine how the data could have been about the election and ad campaigns. Cambridge Analytica did not instantly comment on a request for remark.
Likewise, the data collected through a Facebook application called ‘this is your digital life.’ This app predicted aspects of users’ personalities. Thousands of users downloaded and logged in the app through Facebook. In doing so, users also gave their consent to access their information about their city of residence, information about their friends, and the content they liked.
SCL and Data Harvesting Firm knew as Eunoia Technologies
The data passed to SCL and a man named Christopher Wylie from data harvesting firm known as Eunoia Technologies. This violated Facebook rules to prevent app developers from distributing users’ personal information. Facebook blocked the application from the platform. It also asked the developers to provide evidence that they had destroyed the collected data.
Donald Trump’s election team in collaboration with data research team evaluated more than 50 million Facebook accounts to develop a software able to predict choices at the ballot box.
Whistleblower Christopher Whylie explained on how Cambridge Analytica used personal information taken without consent to develop an algorithm that could profile voters and serve them political advertisements.
Similarly, the Cambridge Analytica later claimed to delete all its data after knowing that Global Science Research does not agree with Facebook’s terms of service.
Trump and his marketing campaign
The Trump marketing campaign hired Cambridge Analytica in June 2016 to run its data operations. Furthermore, it had hired a virtual advertising and marketing company named Giles-Parscale to run its web advertising campaigns. Pascale designed the commercials; Cambridge data helped to target voters. Sean Illing carried out connection at Vox.
Kushner employed a person named Brad Parscale, a Texas-based digital expert who had prior worked for team Trump. According to Confessore and Hakim, Cambridge Analytica also convinced Parscale to try out the firm. Vice president of Cambridge Analytica, Steve Bannon enforced the decision.
It is not clear to what extent Cambridge Analytica helped. Pascale has also denied that Cambridge was of any use. But Trump’s digital operation was impressively effective.
Samuel Woolley, head of the Computational Propaganda at Oxford Institute, discovered the unusual amount of pro-Trump messaging and anti-Hillary propaganda spread through automated bots. At the time of the election, Trump’s bots outvoted Clinton’s five to one.