Steve Bannon may be out of a job, but he’s not done being at the center of controversy. In fact, Donald Trump’s former campaign CEO and former White House Chief Strategist has just been caught having tried to install one of his own people as a Facebook employee during the election. The apparent goal: helping to rig the election in Trump’s favor by influencing what was going on inside the social network’s decision making process.
The stunning scandal has been exposed by BuzzFeed, which has obtained emails which Steve Bannon exchanged with his allies just days before he officially took over the Donald Trump campaign. Bannon was planning to leverage his alt-right propaganda publication to install a mole within Facebook’s ranks (link). This was apparently to be done without Facebook’s knowledge, as he discussed the difficulty in trying to pull it off while avoiding being caught. But there’s much more to this.
Prior to taking over the Trump campaign, Bannon was running a company called Cambridge Analytica. It was a voter data analysis company which calculated precisely which voters to target with online advertising, and how to target them. Once Bannon took over the campaign, Cambridge essentially took over Trump’s online marketing efforts. It’s widely believed, though not proven, that the company was working with stolen voter registration data that had been provided by Russian government hackers.
Now we know that even as Steve Bannon was preparing to take the reins of the Donald Trump campaign, he was trying to figure out how to install a mole within Facebook’s ranks. Doing so could have helped ensure that the Trump campaign’s Facebook ad purchases were given priority. It also could have served to facilitate the placement of pro-Trump fake news articles that were being published by Russia – as well as the political ad buys that Russia was making on Facebook.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report