Proceedings Abstracts of the Twenty-Fourth International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence

Tracking Political Elections on Social Media: Applications and Experience / 2320
Danish Contractor, Bhupesh Chawda, Sameep Mehta, L Venkata Subramaniam, Tanveer Afzal Faruquie

In recent times, social media has become a popular medium for many election campaigns. It not only allows candidates to reach out to a large section of the electorate, it is also a potent medium for people to express their opinion on the proposed policies and promises of candidates. Analyzing social media data is challenging as the text can be noisy, sparse and even multilingual. In addition, the information may not be completely trustworthy, particularly in the presence of propaganda, promotions and rumors. In this paper we describe our work for analyzing election campaigns using social media data. Using data from the 2012 US presidential elections and the 2013 Philippines General elections, we provide detailed experiments on our methods that use granger causality to identify topics that were most “causal” for public opinion and which in turn, give an interpretable insight into “elections topics” that were most important. Our system was deployed by the largest media organization in the Philippines during the 2013 General elections and using our work, the media house able to identify and report news stories much faster than competitors and reported higher TRP ratings during the election.