Data watchdog writes to Sinn Féin over collection of Facebook users’ information

Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) Helen Dixon has written to Sinn Féin seeking information about its collection and use of data from Facebook and the electoral register.

It is understood officials in Ms Dixon’s office have raised concerns about the party’s practice of using the public Facebook information of potential voters to allow it to engage in targeted campaigning, including in-person canvassing.

Last week, the Sunday Independent reported that party officials are being told to use personal information posted on social media to identify voters’ home addresses.

Members are told that “Facebook is king” and that members should elicit more information from users so they can “tag them as a social media engaged and follow up with a canvass on their doorstep,” according to an internal document.

This is done using the party’s sophisticated Abú canvassing database and through the use of the electoral register, which lists voter addresses and is open to all political parties.