President Obama's 2012 campaign made ample use of the detailed targeting powers of Facebook, raising some $690 million and registering more than a million voters through their custom Facebook app — but his successor won't be able to do the same.
One of the most important features for the campaign was the ability of app users to give the campaign their friends list so the Obama team could "run those friend lists up against the voter file, and make targeted suggestions as to who [supporters] should be sharing stuff with." The app would suggest to users exactly which friends they should target with campaign content — i.e. "Share this video with Susie who lives in Iowa" — the ultimate personal touch in marketing.
If that sounds a little creepy and invasive, don't worry: In the next presidential election, candidates won't have the same capabilities. Facebook no longer allows app makers to harvest entire friend lists; instead, campaigns will only be able to get lists of friends who are already using the app in question. Needless to say, campaign strategists are already searching for a workaround.