The dirty political data economy you don’t know about — even though you are its primary target

Facebook shifts focus to privacy
Facebook shifts focus to privacy

Data is the new oil, except it isn’t the earth that is being excavated – it’s you. Your data is being used as a commodity. It is being bought, sold, and potentially stolen with the direct aim of manipulating you – from the Weather Channel selling your geo-located data to a political advertising companies matching voter registration records to Facebook profiles, or political candidates tricking you into giving up your personal information through “surveys.”

In Missouri, for example, a statewide voter list can be purchased for $35. So for $35, anyone can get the full name, home address, political affiliation and birthday of every single registered voter in the state.


What can then be done with this data? Facebook allows each individual that is fed into its advertising platform from this voter registration file to be matched to a Facebook profile. All of a sudden a company can directly target you on Facebook, knowing your name, home address, birthday and political affiliation. So the supposedly innocuous political ads you are seeing on Facebook are being targeted directly at you, personally.

We used to believe that Facebook advertising just went out to groups of people with set interests, but that is simply…

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