Sep 29, 2020 - Technology

Trump campaign sought to deter Black voters in 2016

A photo of President Trump.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In 2016, the Trump campaign's voter database placed 3.5 million Black voters in a category called "deterrence" with the aim of trying to discourage them from voting, according to an investigation by a British TV network.

Driving the news: The U.K.'s Channel Four News got a hold of what it says is the Trump campaign's 2016 voter database of nearly 200 million records.

  • In battleground states each voter was placed in one of eight "audiences" organized to facilitate targeting Facebook ads. "Deterrence" was one of these categories.

The big picture: Trump won the election despite losing the popular vote by squeezing out victories in a handful of swing states.

  • Facebook's critics have long maintained that the victory was propelled by a fat budget spent on Facebook ads carefully targeted at swing-state voters with help from a Facebook employee embedded with the campaign and data insights provided by the now-disbanded British company Cambridge Analytica.

Yes, but: No one knows whether Trump's Facebook advertising was actually effective, and the ads themselves are no longer retrievable for study.

  • Some misinformation experts argue that the leak of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign aided Trump more than the targeted Facebook ads.

What's next: We're about to enter the final month of the sequel to this movie.

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