LONDON | Donald Trump’s digital campaign team tried to dissuade millions of African Americans from voting in the 2016 US presidential election, reporters with British television channel Channel 4 News accused in an investigation released Monday.
The channel’s investigative journalists say they obtained a file used by the campaign team 4 years ago, which concerns nearly 200 million American voters, classified into different categories so that they can send them targeted ads on social networks.
Of these, more than 3.5 million African Americans have been placed in a category dubbed “deterrence,” with the aim of pushing them to abstain from voting, according to Channel 4 News. African-Americans were far more likely than other communities to be targeted by this strategy, according to journalists who explain that in Georgia, for example, although blacks make up 32% of the population, they made up 61% of the membership. the category of voters to be dissuaded.
“This strategy preceded a collapse of the black vote in key states like Wisconsin”, before Donald Trump’s final victory, underlines one of the investigators.
The Republican candidate’s 2016 digital campaign included a team from UK-based Cambridge Analytica, which was accused by Channel 4 and other media of collecting and exploiting personal data of Facebook users without their consent. political purposes.
Brad Parscale, Trump’s digital campaign manager in 2016, assured his team had not targeted black voters.
“I would say I’m almost 100% sure that we didn’t run any campaigns that targeted African Americans,” he told reporters from PBS Frontline. But Channel 4 News investigators say they saw a confidential document in which Cambridge Analytica admits targeting African Americans.
Channel 4 News also cites negative advertisements intended to discourage the vote in favor of Hillary Clinton such as videos, in which the Democratic candidate describes young blacks as “super predators”, videos seen millions of times on Facebook.
Quoted by Channel 4 News, Jamal Watkins, vice-president of the NAACP, the main organization for the defense of civil rights for African Americans, said he was “shocked” and “disturbed” by these revelations. “We use data similar to a voter register, but to motivate, persuade and encourage people to participate. We don’t use data to tell who we can discourage. It seems, fundamentally, to be a change from the notion of democracy, ”he responded.