Koch brothers gather comprehensive data on American citizens for political targeting
Shortly before the November 2018 US midterm elections, the Center for Media and Democracy uncovered documents showing that the multi-billionaire Koch brothers have developed detailed personality profiles on 89 percent of the US population with the goal of using them to launch a private propaganda offensive to promote Republican candidates. The brothers have also developed "persuasion models" and partnered with cable and satellite TV providers to target voters with tailored messaging during TV broadcasts. Through their political data firm, i360, the Koch brothers are better positioned to exploit data analytics, AI, and machine learning than either of the main political parties. The Kochs subsidise i360 by undercharging clients such as the National Rifle Association and numerous candidates. i360's voter file has up to 1,800 data points on more then 199 million active voters and 290 million US consumers: hobbies, shopping habits, religion, financial assets, political leanings, and, most important, what contact method works best for reaching each individual. While working with the 2016 re-election campaign for Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), who eventually won with 58% of the vote, i360 developed a model that could predict which candidate a voter supported with 89% accuracy. Based on that and the knowledge that the opioid epidemic was a key issue in Ohio, i360 was able to develop ads giving Portman different positions on the crisis - criminal justice or health problem - tailored to individual voters. Other issue-based models included gun control, gay marriage, and abortion.
Writer: Calvin Sloan
Publication: Center for Media and Democracy