President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign worked with Cambridge Analytica to target millions of black Americans in massive voter repression efforts, the campaign revealed.
Trump's 2016 campaign used a "giant data cache" for nearly 200 million American voters, categorizing 3.5 million black Americans as a "deterrent," or voters who, according to an exclusive Channel 4 News report, do not cast ballots wanted to.
Black Americans were disproportionately categorized as a "deterrent" by Trump's 2016 campaign and targeted with tailored ads on Facebook and other channels, Channel 4 News reported.
Brad Parscale, digital director of the 2016 campaign and former campaign manager for 2020, said in a 2018 interview with PBS Frontline that Trump's successful presidential campaign was not aimed at black Americans.
"I'd say I'm almost 100 percent sure we didn't run any campaigns that targeted African Americans," he said.
However, the alleged data leak casts doubt on these claims.
The 2016 campaign used negative ads for black Americans to reduce the turnout of Hillary Clinton's supporters. This included videos calling black teens "super-predators" according to Channel 4 News.
Facebook, which has begun implementing measures to prevent voter disruption and misinformation for the upcoming 2020 election, has no public record of the ads as many of them disappeared from the platform after Trump's campaign stopped, to pay for them.
"This is fake news," Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh told Digital Trends in a statement.
“President Trump built a relationship of trust with African American voters through the criminal justice reform of the First Step Act, and created Opportunity Zones and his recently announced Platinum Plan to invest $ 500 billion in the black community. Democrats deterred voters in 2016 by nominating Hillary Clinton, who called the black men "Super Predators," and they did so that year by nominating Joe Biden, who advocated racist measures like the 1994 Crime Bill began and even spoke at the funeral of a Klan member. "
Digital Trends has also reached out to Facebook and the House Intelligence Committee for comments on the matter. We will update this article as soon as we receive a response.
Cambridge Analytica closed in 2018 after most of its customers and suppliers lost to allegations that the consulting firm had collected data from millions of Facebook users without their consent for the purpose of political advertising. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, has since committed to reforming the social network to prevent similar violations. However, it appeared that the company knew about the misuse of user data much earlier than originally thought.