I did a very similar project for a CS/stats class in 2011. They did some basic k-means clustering on likes and basic sentiment analysis on posts.
Multiple political campaigns over the past several years clearly thought Cambridge Analytica's data/services were more valuable, or uniquely valuable, compared to services like Facebook or Google. If Google or Facebook were equally suited to the same purposes, I imagine they would have simply used Google or Facebook.
Any marketing professional worth his salt employs the full force of his persuasive skill against his own customers/employers. A marketing firm does not merely try to convince you to buy coca-cola. They also try to convince The Coca-Cola Company that they are effective at convincing you to buy Coca-Cola.
The question anybody looking to hire an advertising firm should ask themselves is whether skill at the later implies skill at the former. It could be the case that CA is good at persuading political campaigns, but bad at persuading voters. One reason to believe there might be a discrepancy here is because the persuasion tech used by CA in both cases is likely totally different. Which is to say, CA likely did not employ their facebook profiling tech against political campaigns to persuade those campaigns to buy their services. Rather, they probably used more traditional sales tactics (perhaps as simple as lying about the efficacy of their facebook profiling tech.)
Right, because there's literally no alternative to fortune-telling magic but more kinds of fortune-telling magic. If there were already a conceptually different prediction service with useful and measurable accuracy, the tarot card place would need to have superior accuracy or some other hook, otherwise they'd go out of business. Ultimately the differences would be measurable and demonstrable.
Marketing team could be selling snake oil, I get it, but snake oil only exists where a real, functioning product doesn't, otherwise there'd be results to compare.
I have no idea where you could have gotten that impression. Snake oil can exist whenever the consumer is unable to distinguish real products from snake oil. Marketing is absolutely one of the industries in which snake oil abounds, and there is no reason whatsoever that it doesn't exist in the niche of political advertising.
Is there any suggestion that the Obama campaign obtained their data illegitimately?
Huh, the article doesn't even mention Trump
>every candidate does the exact same thing
But the issue isn't that ads are being targeted. The article specifically cites data misuse. The same is true in the case of CA, they were not supposed to be selling people's data to third parties.