Business News at a Glance

Posted May 6, 2018 9:32 p.m. EDT

Scholars Have Data on Millions of Facebook Users. Who’s Guarding It?

In July 2014, a team of Swedish and Polish researchers began using an automated program to better understand what people posted on Facebook. The program let the researchers log every comment and interaction from 160 public Facebook pages for nearly two years. By May 2016, they had amassed enough information to track how 368 million Facebook members behaved. For more than a decade, professors, doctoral candidates and researchers from academic institutions have harvested information from Facebook. The information was sometimes left unsecured. Some academics said the data could have been easily copied and sold to marketers or political consulting firms.

Can a ‘Policy Nerd’ Economist Win Over Republicans in Ohio?

When Pat Tiberi announced last fall that he was retiring after representing Ohio’s 12th Congressional District for almost two decades, there was a long line of fellow Republicans waiting to replace him. The party’s primary Tuesday will feature 10 candidates, including Tim Kane. An Ohio native, he served in the Air Force, then earned a doctorate in economics and worked at conservative think tanks. Yet, Kane can seem out of step with the Republican Party. At a time when much of the party is hostile to elites and even the very idea of expertise, Kane is a self-described “policy nerd.”

IRS Starts Enforcing Health Law

At a rally in Michigan recently, President Donald Trump said he had kept his promise to abolish the Affordable Care Act — even though Congress had failed to repeal the Obama-era law. “Essentially, we are getting rid of Obamacare,” Trump said, reminding his supporters that the individual mandate was scrapped as part of the Republican tax bill he signed last year. But parts of the law remain. And the Trump administration is enforcing some of its provisions more aggressively than his predecessor did — a reality that has enraged business groups and Republicans in Congress who want the law repealed.

Meeting Middle Americans and Then Trying to Sell Them Stuff

A commercial for HP features a family enjoying dinner until a feud over global warming erupts between two sisters. A younger family member prints out photos of the sisters, who eventually make peace. The commercial is one of many influenced by research that marketers began conducting after the 2016 presidential election, which spurred soul-searching questions about what political polarization meant for the messages they create. Marketers are now making concerted efforts to learn more about Americans who live outside New York and California: HP’s recent research on marketing and political identity included visits to the swing-state cities of Cincinnati and Detroit.