RNC looks to Facebook for political edge
April 20th, 2012
05:57 AM ET
3 years ago

RNC looks to Facebook for political edge

Scottsdale, Arizona (CNN) – Tapping into the online social networks of voters is a top priority for the digital strategists working for President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney - and no site offers a larger trove of personal data than Facebook.

Now the Republican National Committee is getting into the social media game.

The party organization, which has the mammoth task of turning out Republican voters in every battleground state this November, is preparing to launch a new Facebook tool that lets users share news, talking points and the latest updates about the presidential campaign with their friends.

But the “GOP Social Victory Center,” which has been in development for almost a year and will be released next week, lets Republicans go far beyond just clicking “like” on a story about Joe Biden’s most recent gaffe or the latest veepstakes chatter.

Republicans using the application will be able do the work usually reserved for campaign offices simply by logging into Facebook from their personal computers, party officials told CNN in a briefing about the new technology at this week’s RNC meeting in Arizona.

“We will be finding people and engaging them and letting them do the things that can elect a president, or members of the House or Senate, without actually having to walk into a victory center,” RNC Political Director Rick Wiley said. “That was an untapped resource for us.”

People who sign up for the application will be able to share news pumped directly into their profiles from the RNC’s communications office in Washington.

They can fill out and submit absentee ballot applications, see early voting deadlines, donate to the party or inform their friends about upcoming campaign events using Eventbrite – all while never leaving Facebook.

And simply by clicking a button, a user’s phone will ring and automatically re-connect them, via RNC headquarters, to targeted voters in key states.

“It’s erasing the geographic boundaries,” Wiley told CNN. “Just because you don’t live in a battleground state doesn’t mean you can’t help defeat this president.”

Crucially, though, the application is also designed to help the RNC flesh out their carefully-maintained voter files by mining the basic personal information of every Facebooker using the application, allowing GOP researchers to curate the interests and personal preferences of thousands upon thousands of voters.

When a user “authorizes” the RNC app - you have to authorize Spotify to tap into your Facebook account before listening to Lady Gaga or Radiohead, for instance - the party is able to access the user’s email address, phone number, religion and gender along with the “friends” in his or her social network.

That’s extraordinarily valuable information for political operatives eager to tailor specific messages to targeted voters.

“The data we are going to get, it’s going to be much better than we ever had in the past,” said RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski.

The new application is part of a larger effort by Republicans to catch up with the Obama campaign’s impressive digital footprint and advanced data collection efforts.

To that end, the RNC will begin moving digital directors into 12 battleground states beginning in June.


Filed under: 2012 • Facebook • RNC
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Jules

    They're looking for the edge a little late, if you ask me. I have been friends with the administration and Democrat action groups on Facebook for quite awhile now.

    April 20, 2012 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  2. Al-NY,NY

    welcome to the 20th century GOP. Now I guess those Morse Code machines you were using are no longer needed

    April 20, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    "GOP Social Victory Center"

    The name tells you everything you need to know about what the priorities are for the Republican Party. Newt Gingrich called it "radical right wing social engineering" and he was right, which is why all of his fellow conservatives were so upset with him for calling a spade a spade. Radical right wing social engineering, that's what's for dinner.

    April 20, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  4. John

    It won't help the GOP any. The done try to take to much from the Middle Class and the POOR and The OLD. And Women too.

    April 20, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  5. king

    ARNC look to face book to spew their lies unto the gullibles, hey too bad RNC most face book viewers knows you guys already.

    April 20, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  6. Common sense grandma

    So, if I am "friends" with someone that uses this link, the RNC will also have access to my info? Where is the DON'T LIKE button? Aren't these "small government" people invading my privacy?

    April 20, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  7. Gurgyl

    RNC is sad to the nation.

    April 20, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  8. Lolo

    They are going to need to look further than facebook. Heck half of their supporters are not up to date with technology yet. Ask J. McCain.

    April 20, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  9. Allen

    Lol...you liberals aren't even funny anymore. Mitt Romney is going to win and your Messiah is going to lose. GET OVER IT. The end.

    April 20, 2012 09:06 am at 9:06 am |