As the Republican primaries heat up in the US, news organizations everywhere are trying to predict the winner. But while none of them have a crystal ball, Politico does have a new source of knowledge at its disposal: Facebook.
Last Thursday Politico and Facebook announced they were partnering up to measure user opinion of Republican candidates. A Facebook data team is using an automated process to measure how often users are mentioning, sharing and linking to GOP candidates and whether these mentions are positive or negative. The results are handed onto Politico, whose journalists analyse and publish them. The first set of data is already out.
The project has been greeted by many as great opportunity to paint a detailed picture of voter opinion. Mashable writes that the vast number of Facebook users and the huge amount of information that Facebook holds on them means that the social network "can become a unique space to conduct survey-based research". Read Write Web writes that "Facebook could be the biggest, most dynamic census of human opinion and interaction in history".