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THE SOCIAL ELECTIONS

Your political Facebook posts aren’t changing how your friends think

Facebook politics
Reuters/Dado Ruvic
They’re only judging you for them.
  • Ashley Rodriguez
By Ashley Rodriguez

Reporter

This article is more than 2 years old.

Editor’s note: The following story is based on data attributed to Rantic, a viral marketing firm with a history of sketchy behavior. In retrospect, we should not have published it. While our experience with political Facebook posts suggests, anecdotally, that the thrust of the story is correct, we cannot confirm the authenticity of the study.

It may be hard to resist airing political grievances or appealing to voters on social media during a US presidential race as heated as this one. But no one wants to hear about your politics, least of all on Facebook.

Those long rants about how Trump is a bully and a buffoon, Hillary is a crook, and conspiring against Bernie Sanders has doomed America forever aren’t changing voters’ minds, a new study found.

A staggering 94% of Republicans, 92% of Democrats, and 85% of independents on Facebook say they have never been swayed by a political post, according to Rantic, a firm that sells social media followers. The firm surveyed 10,000 Facebook users who self-identified as Republicans, Democrats, or independents, Wired reported. (Editor’s note: Our efforts to reach Rantic before publication were unsuccessful, and Wired has since retracted its story.)

The only thing those opinionated election posts are doing is damaging your friendships. Nearly one-third of Facebook users surveyed said social media is not an appropriate forum for political discussions. And respondents from each political affiliation admitted they’ve un-friended people on Facebook because of their political posts.

Even more users surveyed said they’ve judged others based on their political views. That doesn’t bode well for those who have turned Facebook into their personal political pulpits.

With politics dominating social media in the lead up to the election, online efforts to avoid politics altogether have also sprung up. Facebook groups are warned at least one man on Facebook to be careful about what he says on social media.

Still, many Facebook users can’t seem to resist putting their politics out there for all to judge. About a third of users surveyed said they have voiced political views on the social network.

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