Policy ForumSCIENCE AND SOCIETY

Social Media and the Elections

Science  26 Oct 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6106, pp. 472-473
DOI: 10.1126/science.1230456

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Summary

In the United States, social media sites—such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube—are currently being used by two out of three people (1), and search engines are used daily (2). Monitoring what users share or search for in social media and on the Web has led to greater insights into what people care about or pay attention to at any moment in time. Furthermore, it is also helping segments of the world population to be informed, to organize, and to react rapidly. However, social media and search results can be readily manipulated, which is something that has been underappreciated by the press and the general public.