MIT Technology Review
A new analysis of research about the predictive power of social media challenges claims that Twitter can predict the outcomes of elections. The University of Oviedo’s Daniel Gayo-Avello contends the research on Twitter and elections is riddled with flaws.
Gayo-Avello says researchers have assumed that all tweets are trustworthy when political statements are often littered with rumors, propaganda, and humor. He takes issue with Twitter’s demographics, considering most tweeters are younger, which will bias any results.
“Social media is not a representative and unbiased sample of the voting population,” Gayo-Avello says. Self selection is a problem in that people who make political remarks are the most interested in politics, and Gayo-Avello says more work needs to be done to understand the silent majority.
Moreover, he notes that all of the papers on elections so far have been done after the fact. Consequently, “there are elections virtually all the time, thus, if you are claiming you have a prediction method you should predict an election in the future,” Gayo-Avello notes. Report