TECHNOLOGY

Trump’s Campaign Spent $70 Million in Facebook Ads to Win the Election

Trump’s Digital Director Brad Parscale said he fine-tuned political ads on Facebook to reach certain voters and handpicked Republican Facebook employees to guide him.

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BY Emily Canal - 09 Oct 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Donald Trump is known for his tweets, but Facebook may have been the platform that got him elected. Trump's Digital Director Brad Parscale told 60 Minutes on Sunday he fine-tuned political ads on Facebook to reach certain voters and handpicked Republican Facebook employees to guide him.

Parscale said he spent the majority of his budget on Facebook ads and found they could be efficient when targeting the rural vote. "Twitter is how [Trump] talked to the people, Facebook was going to be how he won," Parscale told 60 Minutes reporter Lesley Stahl. "So now Facebook lets you get to...15 people in the Florida Panhandle that I would never buy a TV commercial for."

Parscale added that the campaign would average between 50 and 60,000 different ad versions every day. Additionally, Trump's campaign spent about $70 million on Facebook, and nearly all of that in the last four months of the election, according to The Washington Post.

Parscale also said Facebook employees - which he called "embeds" - taught him how to utilize Facebook's technology. Parscale said he made sure they were Trump supporters and had them in the office multiple times a week. "I want to know everything you would tell Hillary's campaign plus some," he said he told the "embeds."

The report comes a week after Facebook announced it found 3,000 ads on its site that were purchased by Russian sources. The recent news is prompting scrutiny of Facebook's political advertising business and the ads that people are exposed to online. What's more, it could affect a major profit center for the social media site.

Tensions are so high that a day before the 60 Minutes report, Facebook's chief security office Alex Stamos unleashed a tweetstorm defending the company's software algorithms against people who believe Facebook should have more oversight.