A Blog by Jonathan Low


Sep 27, 2016

Who Won the Debate? Your Telecom and Internet Providers, Of Course

Instapolls are popping up on your screen this morning faster than offers for new software. The foreign currency exchanges, global stock markets, online prediction markets are all moving in various directions, each of which is fraught with meaning. And all have reams of data to offer: you don't even have to ask.

The voters will determine the winner in about seven weeks. In the meantime, those who provide cellular plans, internet service, social media, data aggregation and resale, as well as advertisers underwriting them all appear to have been the really big winners. JL

A mash-up of data from Daily Kos, USA Today, the Financial Times, CNet, et al :

So who won the debate? Social media, in a landslide. Twitter called it the "most tweeted debate ever." On Facebook, the debate was the top event of this presidential season. The flood of data from social media reaction from the debate will generate compelling and instantly useful information. Fastly said it saw a spike of 1.5 million requests per second, an increase of 3,000 percent, in media sites with fact checkers. Trump tanking in major prediction markets.
USA Today: So who won the debate? Social media, in a landslide.
While presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump slugged it out for 90 minutes, touching briefly on cybersecurity, Facebook and Twitter racked up huge numbers of posts and tweets, to borrow a favorite word from one of the debate participants.
Twitter spokesman Nick Pacilio called it the "most tweeted debate ever," though final numbers were not available yet. There were 10 million tweets during the first presidential debate in 2012, according to Twitter.
The most-tweeted topics: the economy, foreign affairs, energy and environment, terrorism, and guns. The most-popular was Trump's denial of calling global warming a Chinese hoax. (He did.)
Twitter said the three-most tweeted moments were Trump's vow he has "good temperament," his comments on stop-and-frisk police actions, and an exchange between the combatants on their plans to defeat ISIS.
A number of tweeters also noted Trump's frequent sniffling during early stages of the debate.
On Facebook, the debate was the top event of this presidential season, company spokesman Andy Stone said. The top issues were taxes, ISIS, racial issues, the economy, and crime and criminal justice.
The top social moment in the debate's first half, according to Facebook, was when Trump said, "She tells you how to fight ISIS on her website. I don't think Gen. Douglas MacArthur would like that too much.” During the second half, it was Trump again: "My strongest asset is my temperament."
On both platforms, Trump generated the most conversation (79% on Facebook, 62% on Twitter) — both good and bad.
Fact-checkers, meanwhile, had a big night. Traffic on media sites with fact checkers soared 3,000%, according to content-delivery network Fastly.
And, yes, the candidates briefly discussed technology.
'The Cyber' and heavy hackers
"Cyber warfare is one of the big challenges facing the next president," Clinton said.
The country faces threats from independent hacking groups motivated by profit, and by state actors attempting to probe the files of government agencies, corporations and individuals, Clinton said.
“We are not going to sit idly by and let state actors go after our private information and government information,” she said.
Trump, in a rare moment, agreed with his opponent. He said the U.S. must be vigilant against cyberattacks. But he quickly blamed President Obama for losing the battle on the Internet with ISIS.
“When you look at what ISIS is doing with the Internet, they’re beating us,” he said. “It is a huge problem. The security aspect ofcyber is very, very tough. We are not doing the job we should be doing.” His repeat comments on "the cyber" or the problems simply with "cyber" — both unusual shorthand when talking about cyber security and hacking — earned its own hashtag.
Trump later said the hacker of the Democratic National Committee's email might not be Russian or Chinese but "someone sitting on their bed who weighs 400 pounds."
Amid the verbal jousting, Facebook and Twitter were overwhelmed with debate comments, reflecting intense interest in what analysts say will be one of the most-watched presidential debates ever.
The social media companies, whose billions of worldwide members represent a kaleidoscope of comments during live sports and entertainment events, braced for a heavy-viewing night. Both teamed up with prominent media partners to stream the keenly-anticipated showdown in hopes of peeling off TV viewers.
Facebook and ABC teamed to stream the debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. Twitter formed a partnership with Bloomberg to present the debate, just as the micro-blogging site streams NFL games on Thursday night. Twitter, reportedly on the market, live-streamed the Democratic and Republican conventions via a deal with CBS.
Social media has been abuzz the past month: 33.6 million people on Facebook in the U.S. weighed in with posts related to Trump 367 million times; 28 million commented nearly 300 million times on Clinton.

CNet: Big Data was a big part of the first big debate.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump battled it out Monday night at Long Island's Hofstra University in the first of their three debates as they race to become the next US president. The candidates sparred over "America's direction," "achieving prosperity" and "securing America" -- basically anything -- in a debate that was expected to draw an audience on par with the Super Bowl.
While Trump said during the spirited debate he has the "winning temperament" to be president, he claimed his Democratic rival doesn't have the "stamina" for the position. Clinton fired back in many different ways, saying the Republican candidate wasn't prepared to debate and isn't qualified to be commander in chief.
"You know what else I'm prepared for? I'm prepared to be president," Clinton said. "And that's a good thing."
With the race in a virtual dead heat, the debate provoked an outpouring of political expression on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media. With that expectation, Clinton's team recently sent supporters an email asking them to "advocate on every online platform on the night she goes head to head with Trump." Meanwhile, Trump bought a Snapchat filter.
But the flood of data from social media reaction from the debate will likely paint a better picture, generating compelling and instantly useful information for campaigns. Companies like Fastly, L2 Political, Cambridge Analytica, NationBuilder, NGP VAN and TargetedVictory extract signals from piles of big data scraped from the social web, particularly Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Both campaigns employ internal teams that process these signals, using the data to shape messaging and their get-out-the-vote strategies.
"A lot of people are looking at this campaign, socially speaking, and want to compare this to the 2012 and 2008 [presidential] races," said Kellan Terry, a data analyst for Brandwatch, which measures social media reaction. "But there's really not one to be made. All conventional wisdom is gone."
Fastly said it saw a spike of 1.5 million requests per second, an increase of 3,000 percent, in media sites with fact checkers when Clinton referenced her own website and its fact checkers while she criticized Trump for alleged inaccuracies about jobs and taxes. Social media also saw a 25 percent increase when Clinton dissed Trump's tax policies calling them, "Trumped-Up trickle down" economics, which became the hashtag #TrumpedUpTrickleDown and began trending early on Twitter, Fastly added.
Other popular trending terms on Twitter included "#debatenight" with 2.4 million tweets, "Donald Trump," with more than 2.1 million, "President" (1.1 million) and "The Donald" (1 million). "Fact check" also resonated with users, registering more than 326,000 tweets.Big data firm Sysomos discovered similar results by scraping Twitter in real time during and immediately following the debate. Its tool scrapes the social web, then applies Boolean searches -- complex conditional queries -- to suss trending content.
Here were the top trending quotes from the debate on Twitter, by each candidate by the numbers, according to Sysomos:
Total mentions: 1,321,073
Most retweeted:
Total mentions: 1,707,617
Most retweeted:
These were the top trending quotes from the debate on Twitter, by candidate:
1. "Trumped up, trickle down," with 23,436 total mentions.
2. "I know you live in your own reality," 26,668 total mentions.
3. "Maybe he's not as rich as he says he is," 3,508 total mentions.
1. "Hillary Clinton has been fighting ISIS her entire adult life," with 31,557 total mentions.
2. "Braggadocious," with 14,040 total mentions.
3. "Stop and frisk," 83,436 total mentions.
4. "Good temperament," 9,741 total mentions.
While he may not have fared well during the debate, Trump, whose Twitter handle is @realDonaldTrump, dominated the Twitter talk during the 90 minute-long clash. He captured 62 percent of the debate share of conversation on the social network compared with the 38 percent held by Clinton, whose Twitter handle is @HillaryClinton.
Nonetheless, effect of real-time social media on the debates is still being measured, said Dan Franklin, a political science professor at Georgia State University in Atlanta.
That's because, according to Brandwatch's Terry, the candidates are on a stage under bright lights, unaware of how their sentiment is playing on social media and whether it will lead to a positive or negative trend and a hashtag.
"They won't benefit immediately from the social analysis, but they surely will review it later," he said. "They will get to see for themselves and say, 'In this moment I did very well,' and 'This is something I need to work on.'"
Franklin agrees, using football terminology to further the point.
"There will be no 'Hail Mary's' or 'running out the clock,' at least for now," Franklin said. "However, in the future, it might be useful for candidates to think in those terms."
CNBC/Financial Times: If the Mexican peso is any indication, the foreign exchange market seems pretty sure Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton beat her opponent.
Throughout the course of the 90-minute debate which veered widely on issues ranging from Republican candidate Donald Trump's possible failure to pay taxes to Clinton's email server, the Mexican peso surged against the U.S. dollar.
The greenback was fetching 19.5360 Mexican pesos at 10:48 a.m. Wednesday HK/SIN, down from as high as 19.92 pesos before the debate began; that was the lowest for the peso since at least 1989, according to Reuters data. That compared with levels below 17 pesos around the beginning of the year.
Analysts said that was a sign the foreign-exchange market was calling the debate a win for Clinton.
"The peso has come up because the market has judged the odds of Trump winning have gone down," said Ray Attrill, co-head of foreign-exchange strategy, at National Australia Bank. "The peso has been the weapon of choice for betting on Trump winning."
That's because of Trump's positions of greater trade protectionism. He's called for repealing NAFTA, the U.S. trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, and has said he would impose punitive tariffs on Mexican goods imported into the U.S.
Trump has also pledged to crack down on illegal immigration from its Southern neighbor, claiming that Mexico has been sending "criminals" and "rapists." The Republican candidate also had a tense visit to Mexico that ended in a war of tweets with the country's president.
Attrill noted that other currencies also appeared to price in less chance of a Trump win, saying that the yen, a safe-haven currency, weakened for the same reason.
Other foreign-exchange analysts also made the same observation.
Boris Schlossberg, managing director of foreign-exchange strategy at BK Asset Management, said via Twitter during the debate that the Mexican peso's rise was "a pro-Clinton trade."
He also lamented that he hadn't "had more faith in Clinton" and held onto a long dollar/yen trade.
Others were more circumspect about calling a Clinton win, but still pointed to the peso.
"I shall not speculate on whether Clinton won or was Trumped, but clearly, the highest beta currency to a Trump victory thinks she did," Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA, said in a note after the debate. "Maybe the Mexicans know something we don't?"

Daily Kos: Trump tanking in major prediction markets. Just in the past half-hour…
Election Prediction Market


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