Snap, the company behind the social media platform Snapchat, has been busted for having “accidentally” granted Democrats access to GOP voter data, but conservatives aren’t remotely convinced that this was indeed an accident.
“A slip-up by social media giant Snap allowed leading Democratic campaigns and party committees to unwittingly tap into a vast repository of Republican voter data to hone their midterm ads,” Axios reported Wednesday.
Accidentally on purpose? https://t.co/MhbF7x1FA6
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) September 8, 2022
On social media platforms like Snap, advertisers have the option of fine-tuning their ads by targeting specific demographics — people who smoke, people who own a business, etc.
The more ads an advertiser runs, the more fine-tuned their ads become. For instance, the first time that a vaping company runs an ad, it might target all men and women. The results of the ad might then show that the ad performed the best among men who smoke cigarettes. And so the advertiser would fine-tune their ads by targeting only men who smoke cigarettes. Get it?
In this case, Snap inadvertently granted Democrat advertisers access to targeting data that had been compiled by i360, a “Republican-aligned firm.”
“i360 and a Democratic counterpart, TargetSmart, make data available to other advertisers on the platform but limit availability to preapproved lists of allied organizations. Snap told Axios an internal oversight allowed non-approved entities — including political and ideological adversaries — to use data from both companies to target their ads,” according to Axios.
And so to be fair, Democrats were also affected. However, Axios admits that “its use by political groups was significantly more prolific on the Democratic side.” In other words, Democrats were far more likely to exploit the “accident” to their advantage.
Axios notes that the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams’ gubernatorial campaign all exploited the error.
The establishment outlet stresses though that “[t]here’s no indication that any of the advertisers knew they were using i360 data or took any steps to exploit it beyond normal ad targeting decisions.”
But on the flip side, there’s no indication that they didn’t know what they were doing. This, coupled with the fact that Democrats were “more prolific” in their use of the exploit, is why conservatives are convinced this was no accident:
Big Tech is colluding with the Democrats to have an unfair and unethical advantage over Republicans.
If this happened in reverse we’d hear about the existential threat to our democracy this represents for weeks and there would be congressional hearings tomorrow. https://t.co/ruzitBDgQB
— Joe Sweeney (@JoeSweeneyNH) September 8, 2022
Wow I am shocked, shocked to learn about this accidental slip-up that, like all the other accidental slip-ups, massively benefits Democrats https://t.co/E6WxIyouZ8
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) September 8, 2022
This seems accidental in the same sense that critics of Vladimir Putin constantly falling out of windows or drinking poison is accidental. https://t.co/j5FKf6bLIX
— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) September 8, 2022
Hard not to be cynical or even conspiratorial about such ‘whoopsies’! https://t.co/3hCb3A3tEN
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) September 8, 2022
Funny how these “slip-ups” only happen in 1 direction. https://t.co/bOR7rlSeKD
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) September 8, 2022
Dems still batting 1000 in accidental unwitting slip ups. https://t.co/3JLez9K2Ji
— David Harsanyi (@davidharsanyi) September 8, 2022
— Monica Crowley (@MonicaCrowley) September 8, 2022
This isn’t the first time that Snap has been accused of aiding Democrats.
About a month before the 2020 presidential election, NBC News ran a piece titled, “Snapchat has helped 1 million users register to vote, a possible boon to Democrats.”
Why a boon? Because of the young and impressionable age of its core audience.
“Snapchat has helped more than 1 million users register to vote, representatives for the company said. More than half are first-time voters, and more than 80 percent are younger than 30,” NBC News noted at the time.
Young and arguably dumb voters tend to be far more liberal than their older counterparts.
That same year, Snap targeted then-President Donald Trump’s Snapchat account after he committed the apparent crime of threatening to rein in violent Black Lives Matter rioters.
“Snapchat drew a wave of repudiations from top Republicans but praise from Democrat Joe Biden after becoming the latest social media platform to penalize President Donald Trump for threatening violence against protesters,” Politico reported at the time.
“The multimedia messaging company’s decision to stop promoting Trump’s account to other users instantly pulled the app’s parent company, Snap, deeper into the Washington political-speech fight that has mainly focused on its peers.”
Snapchat said it will stop promoting President Trump’s account to other users because of the threats he has made on other social media platforms about unleashing violence against protesters https://t.co/ik0AexYpGn
— POLITICO (@politico) June 3, 2020
Republicans were, as noted by Politico, outraged.
“At this point, it is no surprise to anyone that Big Tech doesn’t believe in free speech and will happily censor views with which they disagree. But this move is extraordinary even when measured by that low bar,” Sen. Ted Cruz said.
“Snapchat is explicitly censoring admittedly unobjectionable speech as punishment for completely unrelated speech off of Snapchat’s platform,” he added.
Trump was equally irate.
“Radical Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel would rather promote extreme left riot videos and encourage their users to destroy America than share the positive words of unity, justice, and law and order from our President,” then-Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement.
He also accused Snap of “trying to rig the 2020 election, illegally using their corporate funding to promote Joe Biden and suppress President Trump.”
Two years later, some conservatives now believe Snap is “trying to rig” the 2022 election instead …
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