the wake of a massive data harvesting scandal, it has emerged
approached at least two major Australian political parties
during the final weeks of their 2016 election in order to help
them "microtarget" voters using a
powerful data matching tool, reports the Sydney
offered "advanced matching" as part of their so-called Custom
Audience feature to both the conservative (if not confusingly
named) Liberal Party, as well as the "democratic socialist"
Labor Party. The tool promised to allow the parties to
compare data they had collected about voters - such as names,
birth dates, phone numbers, postcodes and email addresses - and
match that information to Facebook profiles.
combination of data sets would then allow political parties to
target Australian swing voters with custom tailored ads over
Facebook, which advertised a 17%
increase in matching rates using a beta version of the
service provided to the Liberal Party.
Media reports that while the conservative Liberal Party
turned Facebook down over concerns that sending voter data
overseas to Facebook servers would violate the
Privacy Act and the Electoral Act, the Labor Party
took Facebook up on their offer.
specifically whether Labor used the tool, a Labor spokesman said
in a statement: "A range of different campaign techniques and
tools are used for campaigning, from doorknocking to phone
banking to online. Labor
works with different groups to get our message out, including
social media platforms like Facebook."
of our work is in complete compliance with relevant laws,
including the Commonwealth Electoral Act, which makes it a
criminal offence to misuse information on the electoral roll." -Sydney
said, the Herald reports
that the Labor Party (ALP) digital team would have "hashed" -
or anonymized, any electoral roll data "on a local browser,"
sources tell the Herald.
This would have prevented personally identifiable information to
be uploaded to foreign servers.
the Labor Party and Facebook sought to downplay the "advanced
Custom Audiences tool is widely used by brands and advertisers
to target potential customers.
of people use the custom audience tool. Civil society groups use
it too with their massive databases. I don't think it's anywhere
near as sinister as people think," a Labor source said.
said in a statement: "All parties are offered the same training,
materials and products - whether existing or new — at the same
time. It is a decision for each campaign as to whether and how
they choose to use them."
company has this week been unable to say whether data of
Australian users is hosted locally or offshore. -smh
has been contacted by Australia's privacy commissioner to with
questions over Australians who may have been caught up in a
massive data harvesting scandal which has unfolded over the last
week - raising the possibility of sanctions against the social
of Facebook's attempt to help Australian political parties
influence their 2016 election comes days after Mark Zuckerberg
told CNN that
the possibility of the social media giant influencing the 2016
U.S. election was "a
pretty crazy idea."
kind of interesting considering that Facebook was
the Obama Campaign target voters using
harvested data, similar to what Cambridge
Analytica was doing for several GOP candidates in the 2016
election. Obama's former campaign director admitted over
Twitter that Facebook not only knew of
the campaign's data harvesting to "suck
out the whole social graph," but that they "didn't
stop us once they realized that was what we were doing."
emails released during the 2016 election revealed that
Facebook COO Cheryl Sandberg really wanted "Hillary to win badly,"
after Hillary came over to Sandberg's house and was "magical
with her kids."
there's Sandberg telling John Podesta "Look
forward to working with you to elect the first woman President
of the United States."
there don't seem to be any emails from Facebook executives to
Trump's campaign manager with similar sentiments.