Snapchat says it had a bit of a “slip-up.” Just a little one, it says.
The app service acknowledges a blunder that allowed leading Democratic campaigns and party committees to tap into Republican voter data and hone their midterm ads.
Just a little slip-up, no doubt.
Specifically, the data leak allowed Democratic groups to target ads using data from GOP mega-donor Charles Koch’s firm i360.
The Democratic groups include the DNC Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and Stacey Abrams’ gubernatorial campaign.
(Sidenote: there is no bigger hypocrite than Stacey Abrams.)
“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,” Snap Inc. said.
Snap claims the error impacted data maintained by both Democratic and Republican data firms, but an Axios report found that “its use by political groups was significantly more prolific on the Democratic side.”
Who would have guessed?
The report explained the significance of the error:
“On Snap and other platforms, political advertisers can target their ads to highly specific user segments — frequently relying on data brokers that hoover up information on voters’ interests, activities, spending habits and other criteria.”
Again, just an innocent slip-up.
For background, i360 and a Democratic counterpart TargetSmart make data available to advertisers, but limit availability to preapproved lists of allied organizations.
i360 released a statement saying there’s an agreement with advertising platforms that Snap would not allow competing political organizations to access the specific data that leaked.
Eric Wilson, a veteran Republican digital strategist, says the mistake spurs more concern about the concerns about the protection of political data.
“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 told Axios. “They should ask if and how their campaign activities were used to enhance the data provided via Snapchat.”
Just a minor slip-up in which a social media company disproportionately helped Democrats.
Nothing to see.