Donald Trump is Dominating Facebook Chatter in Iowa
But we can’t tell whether those mentions are positive or negative
Donald Trump is monopolizing the conversation in Iowa, at least on social media.
According to data from Facebook, Trump’s name has appeared in over 200,000 Facebook interactions between 66,000 people in the early-voting state in the last week. That’s more than double the interactions of the next-most-talked about candidate, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, who was the subject of 86,000 interactions between 31,000 people.
Trump also dominated the Facebook conversation compared to his Republican rivals. The next-most-talked-about GOP hopeful is Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, with 37,000 interactions among 14,000 people. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s name came up 23,000 among 12,000 people. Facebook measured the data between July 10 and July 16, just among Iowa voters.
Facebook has no way to know whether the mentions of Trump are positive or negative, and social media buzz does not necessarily translate into votes. And since computer algorithms are notoriously bad at distinguishing between sarcasm and sincerity, it’s hard to know whether the flood of Facebook mentions means Trump is being widely praised or widely mocked. As the 2016 presidential campaign swings into gear, campaigns and data analysis firms are looking for ways to reliably interpret this flood of data and use it to target potential voters, Reuters reports.