As part of the uber-comprehensive vetting process for prospective running mates, Hillary Clinton demanded that all her vice presidential hopefuls turn over not only their own social media passwords, but also the passwords for all the members of their immediate family on every social network, according to Politico, which first reported the news.
And what was the campaign looking for? While it’s not listed explicitly, given the high degree of media scrutiny it’s safe to assume that they were on the lookout for anything even remotely damaging– anything at all. That could run the gamut from kids doing keg stands to racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise controversial jokes or comments shared in private. And God forbid they found evidence of a VP prospect or their spouse having an affair.
There’s no indication that the social media investigation ruled out any potentials, or that her ultimate choice, Tim Kaine, had anything juicy to hide on social media (along with his family). And of course the social media review was just part of a much wider vetting process: according to Politico the campaign also asked VP prospects for a list of every property they had ever owned, every resume they circulated over the last decade, and the names of every business partner they ever worked with.
Social media has already played a major role in this election, with all the candidates making liberal use of the channel for free, direct communication with millions of followers – but the Democrats are lagging behind. According to a recent study by Pew, Donald Trump’s social media posts generate far more activity than Clinton’s. Pew found that Trump’s Twitter posts were retweeted an average of around 6,000 times, compared to just 1,500 for Clinton. And on Facebook, Trump’s posts generated an average of 8,367 shares each, compared to 1,636 for Clinton.
All this activity isn’t necessarily positive, as many of Trump’s tweets and Facebook posts are doubtless shared by critics who take issue with his controversial statements, but as The Donald has often said, he believes “all press is good press!”