British channel reporters say they obtained a file, used four years ago by the campaign team, which covers almost 200 million American voters, cataloged in different categories so they could send them targeted ads on social media.
Among those voters were more than 3.5 million African Americans in a category called “deterrence”, with the aim of getting them to abstain from voting, according to Channel 4 News.
According to journalists, African-Americans were much more likely than other communities to be targeted by this strategy. In Georgia, for example, although blacks make up 32% of the population, they represented 61% of the category of voters to be deterred.
“This strategy preceded a collapse of the black vote in key states like Wisconsin,” before Donald Trump’s final victory, said one of the investigating journalists.
The Republican candidate’s digital campaign in 2016 included a team from British company Cambridge Analytica, who had been accused by Channel 4 and other media of collecting and exploiting Facebook users’ personal data for political purposes without their consent.
Trump’s 2016 digital campaign director Brad Parscale said his team was not targeting black voters.
“I would say that I am almost 100% certain that we have not run any campaigns targeting African Americans,” he told reporters at PBS Frontline, but Channel 4 News investigators revealed they had seen a confidential document in which Cambridge Analytica admitted having targeting African Americans.
Channel 4 News also mentions negative ads designed to discourage voting for Hillary Clinton, a defeated candidate in 2016, such as videos, seen millions of times on Facebook, in which the Democratic candidate calls “super predators” young blacks.
Cited by Channel 4 News, the vice president of the main African American civil rights organization, NAACP (National Association for the Progress of People of Color), Jamal Watkins, said he was “shocked” and “disturbed” by the revelations made.