How Campaigns Use Artificial Intelligence To Mine Your Social Media


CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Politicians are turning to the internet, and specifically your social media comments, to find out how to win your vote. They’re not using staffers to pour over your page. They’re hiring tech companies that use artificial intelligence software to mine the internet for publicly available data and then tailor their campaigns.

The software looks at your tweets, YouTube comments, Reddit conversations, even some of your Facebook comments. The president of one of the companies that compiles this data for campaigns talked with WCCB. We asked him about the North Carolina Senate race between Thom Tillis and Cal Cunningham. He tells us news of Cunningham’s affair definitely changed the dynamics.

AdVictory founder and president Adam Meldrum says, “It was interesting to see, you had Tillis really driving a lot of the conversation nationally, around the Supreme Court issue, and those types of things, from being an elected official, and he was discussed at a much higher volume. When this (the affair) happened, you saw Cunningham really jump up, and the volume of the conversations really spiked around him. And his conversations were much more neutral previously. It was 60-40, positive sentiment. You’ve seen the sentiment around his conversation not only scale in volume, but dramatically flip in sentiment, where it’s somewhere about 30 percent positive, 70 percent negative now.”

Meldrum says in other instances, campaigns use the data to determine that a negative news story or issue didn’t make an impact. They can use the info to calm down a candidate and focus energy on other issues.

Our question of the night is: do you think this AI technology is cool or creepy?

This panel’s episode features:
WCCB TV’s Morgan Fogarty
WCCB News @ Ten anchor Drew Bollea
WCCB Sports anchor Zach Aldridge