Is this the first ever Facebook-oriented political attack ad?


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It seems the issue of Facebook privacy has gained enough currency to earn itself a place in a TV attack ad in the race for California attorney general -- almost certainly the first Facebook-oriented TV ad in U.S. politics.

The new ad, which began airing in the Los Angeles market Thursday night, features the campaign of Democratic candidate Kamala Harris taking primary opponent Chris Kelly to task for his role in ‘designing the Facebook privacy policy condemned across the country.’


Kelly was formerly Facebook’s chief privacy officer.

‘Chris Kelly released your private information,’ the ad’s sinister-sounding voice-over says, with characteristic dramatic music in the background.

Harris, the San Francisco district attorney, has been criticizing Kelly about the Facebook issue for some time, but this is the first time that message has appeared in a TV commercial.

According to this Time post, Kelly’s campaign has said he took a leave of absence from Facebook starting in August in order to prepare for the campaign, and that he had not been involved in the latest privacy snafu in April.

A Survey USA poll from late May gave Harris the lead in the race, with support from 25% of those surveyed, while Kelly was in second place with 17%.

Still, you’ve got to wonder which demographic this message is aimed at. Are social network privacy issues a major concern to the voters who will decide the Democratic primary? Harris evidently thinks so.

[Updated Thursday, 11:52 p.m.: Politico reported earlier Thursday that Kelly said he was ‘troubled’ by his former employer’s plans to share user data ‘without clear consent,’ and said so in a letter to


Updated Friday, 2:09 p.m. : Substituted newer Survey USA poll results.]

-- David Sarno