Will also analyze demographic data in run-up to South Carolina primary

Last week, Facebook and Politico announced a partnership that would gather Facebook user posts deemed "political" by an algorithm for further study by Politico.

Politico is an Arlington, Va.-based newspaper and media outlet that hopes to use Facebook's wealth of user data to measure opinions of Republican presidential hopefuls.

"Politico has joined forces with Facebook to offer readers an exclusive look at the conversation taking place on the social networking site about the Republican presidential candidates ahead of South Carolina’s crucial primary on Jan. 21," the website analyzing the first round of data reads.

The move puts a spotlight on privacy, a subject to which Facebook is no stranger [1] [2] , amid concerns that the data is culled from users' private posts. Both companies claim the data remains private, and that no employee of either company will read posts. Rather, user data is processed through a "sentiment analysis tool." Every post mentioning a presidential candidate will be subject to the tool and compiled to illustrate broader national sentiment.

Politico will also have access to demographic information, including age and location.

"Facebook has been instrumental in expanding the political dialogue among voters and we couldn't be more excited about the opportunity to offer our readers a look inside this very telling conversation," Politico editor John F. Harris tells Mashable.

The techniques in the venture have been compared to Google's reports on search trends based on aggregate activity.

Sources: All Things D, Forbes

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein
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