Politics

Who Would Be President If Facebook Decided?

February 13th 2016

By:
Aron Macarow

Everyone has that one person who posts horrifying, misinformed political news to his or her Facebook feed. Thankfully, we have a variety of options at our disposal to combat the cacophony of election-related articles, from hiding posts to blocking friends to engaging in passive aggressive debates via Facebook comments.

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Or, if you happen to agree with your friend's stance, you can "like" the post. In every day life, a "like" may be little more than a temporary ego-boost, but what if Facebook "likes" picked the next U.S. President? This map from FiveThirtyEight shows us exactly what that future would look like:

Facebook likes across the country for 2016 U.S. Presidential race candidates.

The data comes from the number of Facebook users that have "liked" a candidate's verified Facebook page, counted by county to give us a picture of who might win if "likes" were votes. According to the FiveThirtyEight team, each unique user's "like" is only tallied once per candidate, but a user may like multiple candidates' official Facebook pages — thereby casting a vote for both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump simultaneously if they wanted to (although we're not sure who would do that).

Related: Where Do the Political Gamblers Stand in the New Hampshire Primary?

"Likes" are also not double counted for candidates that have more than one verified Facebook page, like Bernie Sanders who has an official campaign page as well as a Senate page. Clicking "like" on both pages would only result in one vote cast for Sanders.

If Facebook users were deciding by "likes" alone, Dr. Ben Carson would come out on top with 26 percent of "votes," beating out both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Research shows that social media can increase voter turnout but when it comes down to actually picking a candidate, it's a good thing we're sticking to the old-fashioned ballots.

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h/t: FiveThirtyEight