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.