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Politico analyzing Facebook user data to measure political sentiment

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Facebook has started providing political analysis publication Politico with information on users' sentiments on the Republican presidential candidates heading into the January 21st South Carolina primary.

Facebook Politico data
Facebook Politico data

Facebook just made another move that might upset those concerned with the privacy of their data. The social media giant has started providing politics publication Politico with information on users sentiment towards the Republican presidential candidates as we approach the January 21st South Carolina primary. Politico exclusively receives mentions of the political candidates through posts and comments on Facebook — including material that users have marked as private, according to All Things D. However, Facebook claims it uses automated tools to send information to Politico without any personally identifying information and that no Facebook employees actually read the posts. In addition to Facebook-mined data, the company will also be fielding voter-age surveys to its users.

Facebook's announcement and the first set of data went live earlier this morning, and so far the comments on both posts have been surprisingly tame — all comments were focused on the data itself, not its source; however, only a handful of people have responded thus far. Given that privacy when voting (and throughout the political process itself) can be a hot-button issue, we'll be watching to see if Facebook users take exception to this sharing of their private posts as more people become aware of this arrangement.