Facebook to use personal data for Politico analysis

Facebook combed its users’ private status messages and comments for politically related wording and then gave that information (in statistical form) to Politico, All Things D reported yesterday.

Every post and comment by a U.S. user that mentioned a presidential candidate’s name, whether made privately or publicly, is being “fed through a sentiment analysis tool that spits out anonymized measures of the general U.S. Facebook population,” All Things D explained. Users’ posts and sentiment levels were aggregated by candidate Dec. 12 through Jan. 10.

“So don’t worry: Facebook doesn’t actually care about your private feelings, it just wants to exploit them,” Gawker pointed out.

Politico, meanwhile, calls the measure a “survey” of users. The software being used, called Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count, also searches for positive words and negative words.

“Social media has forever changed the way candidates campaign for the presidency,” John F. Harris, editor-in-chief of Politico, said in a press release. “Facebook has been instrumental in expanding the political dialogue among voters and we couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to offer our readers a look inside this very telling conversation.”

Image: First data set, via Politico

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