What I Discovered About Trump and Clinton From Analyzing 4 Million Facebook Posts


On Facebook, headlines are often more important than the articles themselves. Most headlines are browsed, not clicked — think about your own Facebook behavior; How often do you click on links? Because of this, the headlines frame our positions on topics without even having to read the content. It’s quick, simple, and we feel informed. But with respect to politics, this news feed browsing behavior creates an electorate that can become dangerously uninformed.

These same headlines also leave breadcrumbs of the 2016 political narrative, which we can analyze. For this study, we focused on four things:

  1. Exploring media coverage frequency and bias of “Trump” and “Clinton” across different media sources (Headlines)
  2. Comparing social media attention in 2016 to social media attention during the 2012 Obama vs. Romney campaign (Headlines)
  3. Describing other topics the mainstream media brought up when describing Trump and Clinton during the 2016 election (Headlines)
  4. Quantifying the differences in Facebook audience engagement for Clinton and Trump (Facebook Post Engagement)

Analysis Setup

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