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Facebook and the 'Like Me’ Election

New Facebook tools let campaigns find and target voters

Michele Bachmann wants to be your friend. So much so that her campaign is scouring your travels on Facebook for the things that matter to you most. Then she can place a customized message on your page assuring you that those things are important to her, too.

Bachmann did this to great effect in August, when she won the Republican straw poll in Iowa in part by zeroing in on the Facebook pages of potential supporters who lived nearby. Facebookers who had identified themselves as Tea Party supporters or Christian rock fans, or who had posted messages in favor of tax cuts or against abortion, found an ad from Bachmann waiting for them on their profile page in the weeks before the vote, asking for their support and directing them to a link where they could arrange a free ride to the polling place. Bachmann’s campaign says a significant portion of the people who pushed her over the top in Iowa—they won’t say how many—came as a result of the ad campaign.