Sentiment Analysis of Facebook Users Reacting to Political Campaign Posts

Abstract: The digital transformation has changed political campaigns and communication through social media, which has also changed interaction between politicians and citizens. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have had different impacts on the political sphere. Some scholars expect changes in political participation as well as in online political protest and political campaigns. The use of Facebook in politics has been widely studied: the presidential election, political discourse through Facebook timelines, and voting. Technology is in flux, and Facebook changed the “like” button for six emoticons representing reactions that show different emotional states: like, love, haha, wow, sad, and angry. This novelty of going from a single option to six different alternatives to express various emotional states represents an important expansion for user expression on social media. In political campaigns that use Twitter and Facebook to engage with users, this novelty allows us to study the different moods and emotions of users. This new data provided by Facebook are very useful in determining the preferences and sentiments of social media users. A complementary research path for understanding users’ sentiments is to investigate the relation between emotional expression within the Facebook framework during political campaigns supporting candidates and the influence (if any) it has on other users of social media.

Keywords: Social mediasentiment analysisreactionsFacebook