Exclusive: Former employee explains how presentation indicated techniques used to target voters
The blueprint for how Cambridge Analytica claimed to have won the White House for Donald Trump by utilizing Google, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube is disclosed 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 days, 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 ,” told Brittany Kaiser, 30, who was Cambridge Analytica’s business development director until two weeks ago, when she left over a contractual conflict.
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 run she said it conducted on the UK’s EU membership referendum.
She said she had access to a transcript 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 told 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 .”
Kaiser claims to be committed to human rights, but many would argue her career at Cambridge Analytica tells a different story. She has worked extensively for the firm, pitching business to clients in countries that have a history of exploitation by western political mercenaries, including Lithuania, Benin, Ethiopia and Libya.
Cambridge Analytica has a reputation among political operatives for exaggerating its role in campaigns. A senior Trump campaign official who said they considered the document about a year ago claimed it took credit for some run that was done by the Republican national committee and Trump’s digital director, Brad Parscale.
Kaiser did not work on the campaign but said she gleaned information about how it was orchestrated during discussions with senior staff, including the now suspended chief executive, Alexander Nix.
None of the techniques described in the document are illegal. However, the scandal over Cambridge Analytica’s acquisition of data from more than 50 million Facebook users is lifting the lid on an industry that has learned how to closely track the online footprint and daily lives of US voters.
Despite the advances constructed in data-led political campaigning, these were techniques that, according to the presentation, Trump did not have access to when Cambridge Analytica joined his campaign in early June 2016.
The Republican nominee, which has recently secured sufficient delegates to become the party’s nominee, still had” no speakable data infrastructure” and” no unifying data, digital and tech strategy “, the document nations.
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