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Trump Strategist Says Facebook Drove $280M in Donations

By Published on .

Brad Parscale, digital director for Donald Trump, speaks at Trump Tower in New York on Dec. 3, 2016, nearly a month after his candidate's surprise win.
Brad Parscale, digital director for Donald Trump, speaks at Trump Tower in New York on Dec. 3, 2016, nearly a month after his candidate's surprise win. Credit: Albin Lohr-Jones/Pool via Bloomberg

Brad Parscale emerged with a busted lip after an on-stage interview with Michael Isikoff, chief investigative correspondent at Yahoo, about his role in helping Donald Trump win the presidency.

To be clear, Isikoff and Parscale did not trade any physical blows Wednesday at the Web Summit in Lisbon, but there were certainly some verbal jabs by Isikoff -- some arguably unfair -- that drew cheers from the 10,000-plus members in the audience. Instead, it seems that at some point during the interview Parscale, who serves as Trump's digital media director, bit his bottom lip.

Parscale is widely credited for helping Trump win the November election by serving highly relevant ads with precision targeting to swing-state voters on platforms like Facebook.

Facebook itself has gotten flak for sending a team to better educate Parscale in areas like targeting. It's a criticism that Parscale can't wrap his head around.

"When you spend $100 million on social media, a lot of people are going to help you with their platform," he says. "I mean, if you went to the Apple Store to learn how to use their iPhone, do you think it is wrong for Apple to show you? No."

Facebook has said it offered Hillary Clinton's campaign the same services, but was declined.

On a peak day, Parscale says his team created more than 150,000 Facebook ads and used machine learning to optimize the colors, images and messages for best effect. The tactic is nothing new, and in fact is common at countless brands looking to sell more products.

In the end, Parscale captured roughly $280 million in campaign donations through ad campaigns run on Facebook, something he says helped Trump build a war chest to better compete with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

On Twitter
When Isikoff asked if he felt "sorry" or "manipulated" for retweeting a tweet from @Ten_GOP, an account that was later determined to be a Russian-controlled bot, Parscale didn't think the question was fair.

At the time, he had no idea whether the account was a bot or not, Parscale said, nor was there any way for him to find out. Instead, he says media reporters should look to Twitter as the responsible culprit.

"Jack Dorsey wanted Russia's money," Parscale said. "He took their money; that's on Twitter. I'm not sorry, but I do feel bad that it was a fake Tennessee GOP account -- but Twitter should have made that more obvious."

"But do I feel manipulated by Russia for retweeting one tweet? No," he added. "And I'm not sorry; I believed the message, which is there's bias in the media."

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