Facebook allegedly helped advertisers with targeting during the 2016 election season by offering a template of how it perceives the U.S. electorate is ideologically split.
Using its own demographic data, the social media company turned tech conglomerate broke down the American populace into 14 segments, and included descriptors based on race and religion, according to a BuzzFeed News report. The finding, if legitimate, shows that Facebook’s outreach for advertising is quite robust since it reportedly provided advertisers precise areas to target, and what the personal characteristics of those sectors mean for marketing aims.
On the “Very Liberal” end of the “US Political Segmentation 2016” chart, for example, a section titled “Youthful Urbanites” lists “561,000 Hispanic and “1.6M AA” (presumably Asian-American). Interests for that roughly 10.2 million person subdivision, according to Facebook’s purported blueprint, are “comedy TV” and boxing, and their political topics of choice are former President Barack Obama and “women’s issues.” The other five independent segments in the larger liberal subsections include “Politically Engaged City Dwellers,” “Politically Engaged Adults,” “Multicultural Millennials,” “Mainstream Millennials,” and “Transitionals.”
On the conservative side, there are “Diverse Parents,” “Traveling Baby Boomers,” “Small Town America,” and “Millennial Country Culture.” “Post Grad Nest Builders,” “Family Values,” and “The Great Outdoors” were political classified groups listed on the “Very Conservative” edge.
“The Great Outdoors” includes people with the average age of 41, and their politics entail the National Rifle Association, the Tea Party and the stopping of Obamacare. “Small Town America” hobbies include “hunting, shooting [and] fishing,” and is a population that is “anti-Obama.”
Facebook, along with fellow Silicon Valley corporations Google and Twitter, is set to testify Tuesday and Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee — a hearing centering on allegations of Russian interference during the run up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Congressional investigators, as well as special counsel Robert Mueller, have been investigating how the tech companies have been utilized or exploited by Russian operatives. All the companies appear to be cooperating so far by handing over critical files and providing the public with some key updates.
The incident that sparked this public intrigue came when Facebook admitted that it sold $100,000 worth of ad space to a suspicious Russian firm, which may have connections to the Kremlin. While the ad sales were very meager, especially in a two-year time span and relative to the larger, expansive political advertisement ecosystem, it worries officials who see it as Russian government’s attempts to sow seeds of divisiveness in an already schismatic U.S. political climate. (RELATED: Former Hillary Clinton Strategist Refutes Claims That $100,000 Had Huge Impact On Election)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressed atonement during the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur after finding out that certain users ostensibly employed the social media platform “to divide people.” He also apologized earlier for calling the idea that “fake news” could impact the 2016 presidential election “pretty crazy.”
Zuckerberg still chose to defend his company on several occasions during the ostensibly remorseful appeal. He specifically referenced the fact that “campaigns spent hundred of millions advertising online to get their messages out even further” and “that’s 1000x more than any problematic ads we’ve found.” But his respective public acts of purported contrition and ignorance related to the utilization of his platform to further cultivate political rifts amongst the U.S. electorate may fall on deaf ears, since Facebook’s template, according to BuzzFeed News, shows it may have directly aided in those exploitative efforts.
Facebook did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request to verify the authenticity of the chart and elaborate on the alleged particulars by time of publication.
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