Facebook Likes Linked to Political Affiliation

by InvestorPlace Staff | July 11, 2012 5:28 pm

[1]Researchers at Engage have crunched the data and found out something interesting about the web sites people “like” on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB[2]): knowing what sites a person likes gives them a clue about their political affiliation[3].

By using a special piece of software[4], Engage was able to track thousands of users’ Likes, political affiliation, and behavior — whether or not a person showed a high or low level of political engagement.

What are some of the things they’ve discovered?

The most engaged Mitt Romney supporters like eBay

Fans of eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY[5]) were the most likely to support Romney, and the most likely to do so at a high level of political engagement. Another web site whose fans were likely to be rabid Romney backers was eBay subsidiary PayPal.

The most engaged Barack Obama supporters like BuzzFeed

What’s BuzzFeed[6], you ask? Billed as “The Viral Web In Real Time”, BuzzFeed serves as an aggregator of web content that has gone viral. Its fans were deemed the most likely to support Obama among those who were highly engaged.

xkcd fans love Obama

The popular stick figure comic’s fans are the most likely to be Obama supporters. However, Engage scored them as having a low level of political engagement. Also popular among minimally engaged Facebook users who support Obama were social news site Reddit and handmade e-commerce site Etsy.

Liberal and conservative search engines

Fans of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG[7]) were more likely to support Obama, and more likely to be engaged politically than fans of Microsoft‘s (NASDAQ:MSFT[8]) Bing search engine.

Angry Birds For Obama, Farmville for Romney

Fans of Zynga‘s (NASDAQ:ZNGA[9]) popular social game Farmville are strongly likely to be Romney supporters, while Angry Birds fans are just slightly more likely to be Obama backers. Both groups of fans have a low level of political engagement, however. Perhaps they’re too busy playing to discuss politics?

Amazon for conservatives, Zappos for liberals

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN[10]) fans lean Romney, while fans of Amazon subsidiary Zappos prefer Obama. Zappos fans seem to be slightly more engaged then their Amazon brethren.

Facebook fans are centrists

The web site with the largest number of fans on Facebook — Facebook itself — also appears to have the most centrist group of fans. Facebook sits right in the middle, with no real preference in presidential candidate, and a medium level of political engagement.

For more analysis of Engage’s research, check out this article from The Atlantic[11]. For a graph visually demonstrating the likelihood of a site’s users being supporters of Obama or Romney, as well as their level of political engagement, check out Engage’s web site[12].

— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor

The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.

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  1. [Image]: mailto:letters@investorplace.com
  2. FB: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=FB
  3. about their political affiliation: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/07/what-do-your-favorite-websites-say-about-your-politics/259662/
  4. special piece of software: http://gettrendsetter.com/
  5. EBAY: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=EBAY
  6. BuzzFeed: http://www.buzzfeed.com/
  7. GOOG: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=GOOG
  8. MSFT: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=MSFT
  9. ZNGA: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=ZNGA
  10. AMZN: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=AMZN
  11. article from The Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/07/what-do-your-favorite-websites-say-about-your-politics/259662/
  12. check out Engage’s web site: http://www.engagedc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Politics-of-the-Social-Web-Engage.png

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