Politics

Randi Zuckerberg talks Facebook and the elections ahead of ABC town hall

Photo of Caroline May
Caroline May
Political Reporter

Facebook has made enormous inroads into the American political process, and for election night, Facebook’s Randi Zuckerberg and David Muir of ABC News will be broadcasting from an ABC/Facebook town hall at Arizona State University.

“I think we are going to have a great mix of students, military folks, people in the audience who represent a large array of geographic regions and opinions,” Zuckerberg told The Daily Caller.

The sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Randi Zuckerberg has found herself in the cross hairs of political battles in the past.

Last year Matt Burns, the director of communications for the 2008 Republican National Convention, said she she was “full of shit” because comments she had made regarding the Republicans’ poor use of online media tools during the 2008 Republican National Convention.

“At the Democratic National Convention we were like rock stars,” Zuckerberg said at at Startup2Startup event in 2009. “At the Republican National Convention I sat in my hotel room by myself for three days, no one would meet with us, I was like begging people to meet with us.”

Zuckerberg is adamant that past run-ins with Republicans in no way affect her perception or coverage of the elections.

“I am completely neutral, Facebook is completely neutral. My role in all of this is to report what we are seeing on Facebook,” she told TheDC. “What our 100 million-plus American voters who are on Facebook are saying as the poll results come closer.”

Zuckerberg went on to praise the Republicans for their vast presence on Facebook.

“I am thrilled with how the Republicans have turned things around on Facebook. If you look at the races right now, Republicans have nearly twice as many fans,” she said. “So you know what, I am not going to take any credit for igniting a spark, but if anything I said ignited a spark — it seems like it did an excellent job.”

Facebook has been striving to keep a steady finger on the pulse of its members, running pre-election polls, and surveys to get a sense of what to expect. Today the team will continue running those polls to look for trends and changes. Zuckerberg noted that the team is especially excited be rolling out new tools for data analysis.

“We are going to be able to see — up-to-the-minute — if you are interested in a word like ‘economy’ or ‘health care,’ we are going to be able to see spikes in where people are talking about that data across Facebook,” she said. “If you look at an hour window, multi-hour or 24-hour window. Was there a moment in time where people started talking about the economy or health care significantly more than others and what happened at that moment that correlates.”

Tonight on ABC viewers will be privy to that which the Facebook team uncovers.

“It has been incredible for me personally to see the difference in the roll Facebook plays in an election from two years ago to today. Two years ago we were on the other side of the table trying to convince politicians why they should use Facebook, why it was going to be impactful for them. And today we are going into an election where every single candidate has a Facebook presence,” Zuckerberg said.