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How a big data firm may have helped Trump win the election


The Trump campaign hired a British data firm that collects data gleamed from such sources retailers’ loyalty cards to help target potential voters. 


According to a report by NBC News, Cambridge Analytica was paid $5 million in September alone by the campaign. The firm uses transaction information from retailers’ loyalty cards, club and gym memberships and charity donations to try and understand which way an individual might lean politically — and how to potentially change their mind, the report said. The company reportedly holds data on 230 million adults across the United States, and around 4,000 "data points" on each of them.


Unlike financial and other date, the information collected by Cambridge Analytica is not the type of thing that people might feel nervous about.  


“But when you look at the data as a whole, when you aggregate it all, it paints a very interesting picture about the individuals," Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix told NBC. “[The information] certainly allows you to begin to understand what interests them, what issues they care about, what ideologies they may have, if it's politics, or what goods and services may be important to them."


Some of the Trump campaign's $5 million spend with the firm in September was used to buy targeted digital and TV advertising space, the report said.


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