Ted Cruz Campaign collects psychological data from Millions of Facebook users

By Money Times

Dec 14, 2015 09:55 AM EST

US Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz harvests data called "psychographic profiles" from tens of millions of US citizens in Facebook.

According to The Guardian Ted Cruz's campaign collected these data without the permission of the Facebook users. This helped him overtake Donald Trump and other Republican rivals in the presidential race. His primary billionaire donor has financed a little-known data firm that paid Cambridge University researchers to get these massive psychological information from unwitting US Facebook users through an online survey.

INC. reported that this not only a questionable research strategy, but could lead to a new wave of privacy issues from consumers. This could have an adverse impact on the efforts of marketers to create an organic relationship with their prospected customers.

Consumers could react negatively on this strategy and it would result to another congressional investigation. Finally, this would make social media platform reluctant from cooperating with business firms. 

Robert Mercer is the main donor of Cruz and he shares the same views of the senator on the disbelief in climate change and his taste for uncontrolled market.

Gizmodo wrote that Strategic Communications Laboratories, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, was able to collect the psychological information by paying people a dollar for each profile. The sale is transacted through Mechanical Turk, the marketplace for "human intelligence" in Amazon. For $1, people answer personality questionnaires that give the company access to their Facebook accounts.

According to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Cruz's election campaign has paid Cambridge Analytica $750,000 so far this year. The research firm has also received $2.5 million for the past two years from Super Pacs, which Mercer has donated in.

Cruz told the Guardian that his campaign method "is very much the Obama model - a data-driven, grassroots-driven campaign - and it is a reason why our campaign is steadily gathering strength."

Now Cruz is becoming a leading Republican contender. He recently overtaken Trump in a survey as the billionaire is under heat for his anti-Muslim statements.

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