Using a database collected in part by the company Cambridge Analytica, the Trump digital campaign team marked voters in key swing states as “deterrence,” or voters they wish to remain at home on Election Day, with African Americans making up a disproportionate amount of those voters, Channel 4 News reported Monday.
CNN has not seen the data obtained by Channel 4 News and cannot verify the findings.
Channel 4 journalist Krishnan Guru-Murthy on Tuesday said while it’s “impossible to measure” the impact the alleged deterrence campaign had on the targeted voters, it “revealed the motivations behind what the Trump campaign was trying to do.”
“They were trying to deter people from voting, because they knew they couldn’t win them over,” Guru-Murthy told CNN International’s Becky Anderson on Tuesday.
The Trump campaign responded to a CNN inquiry about the Channel 4 report, calling it “fake news” and insisting that Trump “has built a relationship of trust with African American voters” by creating new opportunities and implementing criminal justice reform.
They did not respond to specific questions about the database, which had information on 200 million American voters, according to Channel 4 News.
In comments to CNN after the hearing, Wylie alleged that Black Americans were particular targets of Cambridge Analytica’s “voter disengagement tactics,” which he said were used to “discourage or demobilize certain types of people from voting,” and that campaigns and political action committees requested voter suppression from Cambridge Analytica.
Facebook is facing renewed scrutiny during the 2020 election after its role in the 2016 cycle, including as a tool for Russian meddling in the US election and to spread misinformation.
“Since 2016, elections have changed and so has Facebook — what happened with Cambridge Analytica couldn’t happen today,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement provided to CNN. “We have 35,000 people working to ensure the integrity of our platform, created a political ads library, and have protected more than 200 elections worldwide. We also have rules prohibiting voter suppression and are running the largest voter information campaign in American history.”