November 5, 2012

The Obama campaign knows who your Facebook friends are and wants you to call them

A reader professes shock when at email her brother has forwarded her:
Both my brother and I have donated a small amount of money to Obama. My brother is in NYC. The Obama campaign found that we are connected on Facebook and today they sent an email to my brother telling him to call me to make sure that I vote.
How creepy is this?

Here's the campaign email, sent last Friday (I'm changing the names):

Joe --

For Judy, Election Day is right now!

Some of your friends in critical battleground states are already able to vote -- but early voting ends on Friday in Colorado, Nevada, and Wisconsin, and on Saturday in North Carolina and Florida.

Our volunteers haven't been able to reach many of these people on the phone, so you're the only one who can get them to the polls before it's too late.

Let the folks below know they can still vote early. We'll send you a free bumper sticker to say thanks for reaching out.
Names are provided.
Thanks for doing your part. This race is going to be close, and every vote counts.

We can't do it without you,


Yohannes Abraham
Deputy National Political Director
Obama for America

P.S. -- If any of these folks' numbers are saved in your phone, give them a call and tell them they should go to to get the info they need to vote early. President Obama needs their vote.
Time is running out to do the work it'll take to win. Please donate to the Obama Victory Fund now.


Eric the Fruit Bat said...

There's a sucker born every minute, goes the thinking.

rehajm said...

How creepy is this? This is what Facebook does. This is the business model. This will happen to you more often. Unless.

Original Mike said...

I thought the Obama Administration was pushing on-line privacy regulations.

Original Mike said...

Facebook itself is creepy.

Brennan said...

Ann: You should contact Blue State Digital to learn more about what they really know about you.

This is chump change in data analysis.

Mary Beth (the commenter) said...

Oooooohhhhh, a free bumper sticker! That's worth annoying friends and family for. Also, please send money.

Hugh Walter said..., it's not 'creepy', it's what both sides are doing to bring the votes in!!

What's a bit creepy, is Google linking my Hotmail and Gmail automatically because they're always accessed from the same machine at the same time, that's creepy.

What this is, is modern targeted 'marketing' and while it's annoying, it's no worse that MacDonald's or Tata Steel annoying me with requests to purchase my 'products' or sell me burgers!!

I fear election fever is setting-in, deep breaths...all over a day...

Dante said...

Facebook isn't free. Facebook is trying to figure out how to get some kind of money from people's relationships.

People magazine figured out how to make money on gossip.

Now if only one could figure out how to make money on personal relationships. Maybe facebook psychiatrists.

ricpic said...

What was their chant? The Personal Is Political? Well, here it be.

Matt Sablan said...

I've not received any Facebook spam election-wise. So, I'm wondering how prevalent it is.

Paco Wové said...

As everybody else has already said, what's creepy is Facebook just being Facebook. The rest is just plain old GOTV.

chuck said...

A couple of barrels of whiskey and some cups used to do the trick. Now all we get is a chance to feel cool.

Carnifex said...

Anyone that wasn't aware of Facebook's practices needs to wake up. Big Brother is here and we invited him to stay with us forever.

Just think of it as "National Lampoons:Intrusive Computer program!"

Put nothing, absolutely nothing, on the internet that you don't want known forever, by everyone.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann: You should contact Blue State Digital to learn more about what they really know about you."

I don't care about me. I've put so much stuff on my blog. And the University of Wisconsin posts my salary on the web. Etc. etc.

I care about more vulnerable people.

Shanna said...

I'm creeped out with the obsession and push on voting early.

I am voting on election day. Screw early voting.

tim maguire said...

Great stuff, chuck-- inflation: my vote used to be worth a shot of whiskey, now I have to round up votes to get a bumper sticker. Great stuff.

Carnifex said...


This goes for every smartphone/cellphone too. Stores are now accessing your Facebook page, and using face matching algorithems, they can, and will track you, personally, as you go through the store (because you are on constant monitor) and keep track of what you purchase, how much of it, etc.

Other stores aren't as sophisticated, they just track individual shoppers, and if you linger too long in say the jewelry dept., or if you're a man in women's lingerie, the store security gets an alert.

Cellphones send out a beep every so often to lock onto the nearest cell tower, but using triangulation, they can pinpoint your where abouts pretty closely, by the sec, because all these pings are saved.

Your cellphones microphone can also be turned on remotely, to be used as a listening device, kind of like in "The Dark Knight".

People with built in gps's on their cars sue to get them turned off, but 1) they've disobeyed the court orders before, 2) how would you know if they did turn them off?

Your computer has an IP adress. It is the one and only adress in the world, and they can track you through that. TOR claims to be a work around of this but I don't trust them. Why would TOR be the only ones not penetrated by the alphabet agencies?

It's a brave new world out there kiddies, and privacy has amscrayed de' pussycat.

AllenS said...

This is all about: "We know who you are. We know if you donate or don't donate. Think about it."

Mark O said...

He's really, really creepy.

Dante said...

I've not received any Facebook spam election-wise. So, I'm wondering how prevalent it is.

It's targeted, and Obama has a leg up on Romney on this voter mining:

To find out more, listen to this.

edutcher said...

This is why I have no Facebook friends.

Unknown said...

I received a security notice from FB a few days ago asking if I had logged on from a different location. When I hit the link, they showed the log in location as Chicago. I live is WA state. I changed my password. Creepy.

John Richardson said...

Facebook is what the CIA would have invented to gather info. However, even they thought no one would voluntarily put so much personal info out there.

What did they know! Heh!

Sam L. said...

Well, we know CREEP. Worked for Nixon!

MagicalPat said...

What are they building? An Amway organization?

Stepper said...

I agree with Shanna. Why all the pressure to vote early?

Stepper said...

I agree with Shanna. What's with all the pressure to vote early? All my Dem friends are voting early -- makes me suspicious.

Mark said...

You know why they're asking for money now, even though there's no way the campaign can spend it in time.

Every cent collected and not spent can be used for Barry's greens fees.


Anonymous said...

I used to think the worst thing about Facebook is that it turns friends into acquaintances; now I know better.

Anonymous said...

I used to think the worst thing about Facebook is that it turns friends into acquaintances; now I know better.

Larry J said...

Dante said...
Facebook isn't free. Facebook is trying to figure out how to get some kind of money from people's relationships.

When the service is "free", you are the product. Facebook makes money by selling personal information that people volunteer about themselves.

jr565 said...

What do people expect on a social networking site where you post all your shit to millions of people? Some degree of privacy? Rubes!
And do you think somehow campaigns are not going to get that data and use the same way corporatoins will who target their advertising to what you've looked previously.

jr565 said...

It could be worse I guess. They could be using The Find A Friend type apps to find out where your friends are and how close they are to a voting booth. And then direct them real time to get to the booth.
Or while they're waiting on line, they could be sending you things in real time that say "while you're waiting on line, did you know that Romney wants to do some nefiarious stuff" or "While you're wiating on line, did you know that Obama wants do some nefarious stuff".
As bad as facetime is, this could get a lot worse.

Portia said...

I've never received any FB linked emails either. Course I live in CA and it's not exactly a battleground state. I get plenty of politcial calls but mostly from local legislators wanting me to vote for them, or proponents or opponents of ballot propositions.

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Nancy Reyes said...

Yes, I noticed this. I am registered with Dem abroad on my private email, but suddenly I am getting lots of Democratic emails on the email we use for Facebook, which is under the name of my Republican husband.

They include emails from Minnesota, where we used to live, again our facebook address.

But I didn't give them money, and I didn't link the emails, so I think they are trolling facebook...