The campaign team of then-US presidential candidate Donald Trump tried to discourage black Americans from voting in the run-up to the 2016 election, according to British public broadcaster Channel 4, based on a database of voters from Trump’s digital campaign team.
That database indicates that 3.5 million black voters should be discouraged.
Channel 4 got hold of the voter database containing nearly 200 million US voters, comprising over 5,000 files with a total size of 5 terabytes.
The voters from 16 decisive states were divided into eight categories via an algorithm, which could be targeted in different ways with advertisements on Facebook. One of those categories was entitled “deterrence”. Black voters were a disproportionate part of that category.
While Trump’s campaign team for the 2016 election indicated that it was not targeting black voters, it appears to have been.
Confidential documents from Cambridge Analytica, the controversial British company that helped the Trump campaign influence voters through Facebook, show that the Trump campaign spent $ 55,000 in Georgia alone to target black voters with ads featuring the “predator video. “
That video, in which Trump’s Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton refers to black youth as “super predators,” was viewed millions of times on Facebook.
A Facebook spokesperson said a lot has changed since 2016 and the Cambridge Analytica scandal could not happen today.
The spokesperson points out that ‘voter suppression’ is prohibited by Facebook rules and that the platform has the campaign to inform voters. President Trump’s campaign team, the Republican Party and the White House did not comment.