Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Facebook Gives Politico Deep Access to Users’ Political Sentiments

Counting Twitter mentions would have you believe that Ron Paul is the most popular Republican candidate in the ongoing U.S. primaries. Umm, right.

But some social media analysis of politics is going beyond that. A partnership between Facebook and Politico announced today is one of the more far-reaching efforts. It will consist of sentiment analysis reports and voting-age user surveys, accompanied by stories by Politico reporters.

Most notably, the Facebook-Politico data set will include Facebook users’ private status messages and comments. While that may alarm some people, Facebook and Politico say the entire process is automated and no Facebook employees read the posts.

Rather, every post and comment — both public and private — by a U.S. user that mentions a presidential candidate’s name will be fed through a sentiment analysis tool that spits out anonymized measures of the general U.S. Facebook population.

This is similar to the way Google offers reports on search trends based on its users’ aggregate search activities.

Please see the disclosure about Facebook in my ethics statement.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work