One of the first uses of a trove of Facebook data on tens of millions of Americans that has thrown Facebook and Cambridge Analytica into crisis this week was in 2014 by a super PAC run by John Bolton, President Donald Trump's new national security adviser, two former Cambridge Analytica employees told CNN.The data, acquired in violation of Facebook policy, was used to help produce ads for Bolton's super PAC. Who was on the receiving end of this "behavioral mircotargeting with psychographic messaging"? Among others, turns out it was Facebook users in Arkansas. And who was benefiting from Bolton's Facebook footwork? That would be Tom Cotton, in his 2014 campaign for Senate.
The Bolton super PAC and Cambridge Analytica signed a $454,700 contract in the summer of 2014. The contract, obtained by CNN, outlined how the data firm would provide the super PAC "behavioral microtargeting with psychographic messaging."
Documents provided to CNN show how the SCL Group, Cambridge Analytica's parent company, outlined how to target voters in Arkansas, where Cotton was running for US Senate in 2014.Bolton's PAC poured more than $800,000 into Cotton's race. The Cotton campaign itself also hired Cambridge Analytica (Robert Mercer, the conservative billionaire and part owner of Cambridge Analytica, was a major donor to both Bolton's PAC and Cotton's campaign). Cotton also benefited from two other PACs — B-PAC ($77,916 spent on behalf of Cotton in the 2014 race) and the Ted Cruz-affiliated Jobs Growth and Freedom Fund ($5,333) — that contracted with Cambridge Analytica.
Entitled "Arkansas Priority Persuasion Clusters," it split Arkansas voters into five groups and outlined what messaging would resonate with them.
One ad by Bolton's super PAC for Cotton focused on patriotism, leadership and on the candidate's military service.
Wylie said that ad was primarily targeted at "cluster two" of Arkansas voters, which consisted of males in their 40s to 60s who cared most about national security and the economy. Among the "image guidelines" outlined by SCL Group to appeal to this group was a picture of Cotton in military uniform — similar pictures appeared in the ad.