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Can Facebook predict election results? Add to ...

There's a disconnect between social media and true citizen engagement and activism - at least that's what critics of Facebook and Twitter argue ( Malcolm Gladwell the most vocal among them).

But the tide seems to be turning.

The folks at All Facebook completed a review of last night's election results and candidates' Facebook fan pages and made a pretty fascinating discovery: The number of fans was a strong predictor of who would win in senate and house races.

By their count, in 74 per cent of house races, the winners also happened to have the highest number of fans on their Facebook pages. The same was true in 81 per cent of senate races.

You only have to ask Naheed Nenshi, Calgary's new mayor, how important Facebook is in elections. Mr. Nenshi was seen as the dark horse for weeks leading up to election day, but, more than any of his competitors, invested heavily in reaching out to voters through social media. Many political analysts credited that strategy for his win.

Of course clicking "like" on Facebook means a whole lot less than casting a ballot.

Nick O'Neill, the editor of All Facebook, says it's a bit early in the game to read too much into the fan-votes correlation, "but that [Facebook]would increasingly become more accurate over time."

Let's hope Christine O'Donnell wasn't investing too much hope into her fan count leading up to last night - she may have had three times the number of Facebook fans as Democratic rival Chris Coons but lost by a wide margin of 17 per cent. Eep.

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