Many Facebook users post their opinions on politics, but now, the network will be sorting through your ideological leanings whether you share them or not.
In the buildup to the 2016 election, Facebook will filter through users content to find out their views on candidates and issues. The social network will then share the information they found with ABC News and BuzzFeed, the social leader announced Friday.
“Given the volume of conversation around politics on Facebook, we believe this data truly represents what the American people think about the potential candidates. We’re excited to partner with ABC News and BuzzFeed News, who will both bring their unique journalistic perspective to this data,” Andy Mitchell, Facebook’s Director of News and Global Media Partnerships, said in a statement.
Facebook will compile data by looking at users–18 and older–posts about politics. They will categorize users’ sentiments about a certain candidate as positive, negative, or neutral. Gender and location of users will also be part of the filtering, looking for different trends regarding how Facebook users in key voting states feel about candidates and issues.
ABC News will start using the data next week for its midterm election coverage while also forecasting potential 2016 candidates. BuzzFeed will use the data as a complement to appropriate stories and also make it available in its news app. Facebook vows the data “is gathered in an aggregated and depersonalized manner in a privacy safe way.”
“Facebook is going to be a central — maybe the central — arena in which political conversation happens in 2016. We’re thrilled to have a glimpse at what America is thinking, and excited to share it broadly with our readers,” BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith said in a statement.
“We are always looking for new and interesting ways to tell stories and engage with viewers. This rich trove of data will allow us to do just that — helping us identify the most important trends and the most stimulating conversations happening around the 2016 election cycle,” ABC news president James Goldston said in a statement.