Facebook Exec: Trump Ran 'Single Best Digital Ad Campaign I've Ever Seen' in 2016

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January 7, 2020

A Facebook executive who supported Hillary Clinton said Donald Trump's 2016 campaign ran the "single best digital ad campaign" he'd ever seen.

In an internal memo obtained by the New York Times, Facebook vice president Andrew Bosworth said his company's role in Trump's victory was not the result of Russian misinformation or the controversial use of social networking data by Cambridge Analytica, two reasons often cited by Democrats.

"He got elected because he ran the single best digital ad campaign I've ever seen from any advertiser," Bosworth wrote on Dec. 30. "Period."

"[Trump campaign digital media director Brad] Parscale and Trump just did unbelievable work," Bosworth added. "They weren't running misinformation or hoaxes. They weren't microtargeting or saying different things to different people. They just used the tools we had to show the right creative to each person.... That brings me to the present moment, where we have maintained the same ad policies. It occurs to me that it very well may lead to the same result."

Bosworth said he badly wanted to see Trump defeated but warned Facebook employees against putting their thumbs on the scale, writing that to do so would be to "become that which we fear."

Some media outlets portrayed Bosworth's memo as holding Facebook alone responsible for Trump's win.

"A Facebook Executive Said The Platform Is Responsible For Trump’s Election," read BuzzFeed's headline on the story, with the subhead cutting off the written remarks at "So was Facebook responsible for Donald Trump getting elected? I think the answer is yes."

The Verge ("Facebook executive: we got Trump elected, and we shouldn't stop him in 2020") and CNN (Top Facebook exec: Yes, we got Trump elected and it may happen again") ran similar headlines.