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Privacy with Manatee

May 5, 2015 10:44 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Manatee, as we're calling it, is a piece of technology we've developed to allow us to deliver targeted messages to voters through Facebook and YouTube based on data we have collected from them and stored in Connect.

This is a huge step forward and something no other party can do, It means we can talk to voters about the issues they're most interested in and hopefully persuade them to support us. Of course, protecting the privacy of the people whose data we hold is our absolute priority. Here's how we're doing that.

The most important thing to say is that at no point does political data on anyone leave the Liberal Democrats and none of it is ever shared with Facebook or Youtube. To explain that, here's an example of how Manatee works.

  • We'll identify a targeted set of voters in Connect that we want to deliver a specific message to. As example, let's say that we want to send a message to our definite and probable supporters.
  • We build that list in Connect and then give that list a coded name, let's call it "List 1A".
  • That list is then exported from Connect and sent securely to a third party supplier to be matched with Facebook and Youtube data. Here's the crucial thing: when the list of voters is sent, any sensitive data (e.g. political support) is removed. All we send is a list of people labelled "List 1A". Nobody outside the Lib Dems will know what that list name means, or why people are on it.
  • Once the matching is completed then the targeted lists of voters become available in Facebook and YouTube for targeting. In our example we would see a list of voters in Facebook called "List 1A". Our HQ digital team knows that they are our definite and probable supporters, but no one else does.
  • We then deliver the targeted adverts to that set of voters.

We've been working on this for a long time and we hope it will help our hard working candidates in target seats win. But we can only do that if we can deliver enough adverts between now and when polls close on Thursday. If you can, please consider making a small donation now to help us do that.