The presidential campaign of Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) mined data on "tens of millions of" Facebook users, reportsThe Guardian.
“That potential voters are treated as potential consumers in campaigns is not a surprise, is it?” tweeted one person in response to the news. Others have called the data collection invasive because data was gathered largely without Facebook users' knowledge.
Cruz’s campaign is using data company Cambridge Analytica to profile voters based on Facebook likes -- pairing user traits with voter data, The Guardian reported. The data is then used to build personality profiles based on the “OCEAN” scale of traits (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism).
Cruz described his campaign to The Guardian as “data-driven” and “grassroots-driven.”
Cambridge Analytica had previously worked with the campaign of Ben Carson, who is also seeking the Republican nomination for president.
“You can take one specific issue and communicate it in multiple ways to different audiences depending on their personalities to achieve some kind of engagement on that issue,” said Alexander Nix, CEO of Cambridge Analytica, in a video explaining how the company works with political campaigns.
Red, White and Blog reported Cruz is leading polls in Iowa, and recently, People on the Move reported that Cambridge Analytica named Matthew Oczkowski as director of product and Molly Schweickert as director of digital.