Social Media Giant Admits Its Blunder Gave Dem Campaigns Access to Republican Voter Data


Republican voter data became a gift to Democratic campaigns due to a mistake by the social media giant Snap.

Snap, which owns the platform Snapchat, appears to have been unaware of the problem, according to Axios.

The data in question was maintained by the public advocacy firm i360, which works with the political network founded by billionaire Charles Koch and largely supports Republicans.

However, Axios reported that a political advertising library maintained by Snap showed that Democratic groups used the data to target political ads.

The Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Stacey Abrams’ Democratic gubernatorial campaign in Georgia used the data.

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Axios reported that no indication is given that the left-leaning users knew the origin of the data “or took any steps to exploit it beyond normal ad targeting decisions.”

Much like its Democratic counterpart TargetSmart, i360 allows other users to have access to its data, but only those it has approved.

Snap uses i360 and TargetSmart to target its political ad marketing, according to The Hill, but normally prevents use of the data by unauthorized organizations.

In this case, however, non-approved entities had access to the data.

Should Snap face consequences for this error?

“Unfortunately, due to an internal mistake, we didn’t follow this usual process — which resulted in these two companies’ services being used by advertisers outside of the process, impacting a small number of ads,” a Snap representative said, according to Axios.

“We take full responsibility for this mistake, and as soon as we became aware of it, we took action to correct the issue, notified the two vendors, and are working to rectify payments to each of them. We are also taking steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” the representative said.

Carla Sands, vice chairman of the Center for Energy & Environment at the America First Policy Institute, a conservative nonprofit, was among those mocking the description of the incident as a mistake.

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An i3g0 representative told Axios: “i360 did not authorize this use of its data, and its agreements with advertising platforms like Snap do not allow for the use of its political data by these organizations.”

Eric Wilson, a veteran Republican digital strategist, told Axios the revelation could spark some questions.

“i360’s Republican clients and their donors will be surprised to learn that their data is being used to help Democrats, Planned Parenthood and other opponents,” Wilson said. “They should ask if and how their campaign activities were used to enhance the data provided via Snapchat.”

In 2020, Snapchat conducted a voter registration drive that NBC called “a possible boon to Democrats” because its users tend to be the young, who also tend to be Democratic-leaning.

In January 2021, Snapchat was also among the social media companies to permanently ban then-President Donald Trump, according to Tech Crunch.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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