The British social media marketing company Rantic allegedly conducted a research study on the influence of political Facebook posts over opposing perspectives. The researchers found the write-ups changed little to none minds at all among 10,000 American users reportedly surveyed.
The sample group consisted of social media users who identified themselves as Republicans, Democrats or Independents. The research study comprised six yes-or-no questions designed to define trends on politically active social media posters.
“Has a political post ever changed your view on an issue?” was the question with the most revealing answers, showing an average 90% of all users stating that they had never changed their mind because of a Facebook post.
Among other surprising results, American users of all parties mostly agree on the fact that social networks are not the ideal platform to discuss politics. This statement checks out with a different answer, in which only a third of the sample group said they had expressed their political views on social media at least once.
The study throws interesting intel on human behavior and the effect of social media like Facebook on our lives. However, the official study is hard to find, and the researchers, Rantic, don’t have the best of the reputations.
A study with a shady background
Tracing back the origins of the survey, The Indianapolis Star was the first major outlet to report the news about Rantic’s revealing research. However, the article posted back on Thursday, August 11, failed to provide a source for the study other than the marketing firm’s official site.
Later that day, the web, Elite Daily, reported the study’s results crediting Rantic for them, yet citing The Indy Star as its primary source. Moreover, the news broke big when the online site for Wired Magazine also published an article about the study, providing even an infographic with a breakdown of the results.
— News of Things (@TheNewsOfThings) January 14, 2015
Since then, the digital news outlet Quartz and the news platform branch of Vator, Inc., have also reported the story. Both credited Rantic for the study but cited Wired as their primary source.
All the articles covering the story follow a pattern. They present the results of the study, or “survey,” and they all address the current presidential race in the United States. The US presidential race 2016 is one of the most controversial of all time, so every little detail about it makes it to the headlines. More importantly, they all credit Rantic as the author of the study.
— Jeroen Bouserie (@Jeroen_Bouserie) August 26, 2015
Rantic has been labeled as a “marketing hoaxer” in the past
In the company’s own words: “Rantic is the #1 top-rated social media marketing site that delivers promising campaigns at an unbeatable price”. The public relations firm is reportedly based in the United Kingdom. There is little information regarding its executives, clients, or alleged achievements.
The “World Leader in Social Media Marketing” cites itself as the source of the honorific title, and it dedicates to selling “real” Instagram and Twitter followers, Facebook likes, and YouTube views. Rantic’s last official publication was a blog post titled “Blogging – Your Way to Success” back on June 15.
— Falk Fuhrmann (@falkeee) January 12, 2015
Rantic, known as SocialVevo in the past, has been the source of controversial news including the hijack of Charlie Hedbo’s Twitter account after the terrorist attack. Back in 2014, a lot of nude celebrity pictures were released to the public in a global movement nicknamed “The Fappening.” The affected celebrities included Emma Watson, and SocialVevo accused 4Chan of the leak.
4Chan’s community counterattacked and hacked SocialVevo’s website for some pay-back vandalism. Once inside Rantic’s system, though, the hackers found evidence linking the company to several Internet hoaxes including the “Emma Watson countdown.”
The social media marketing firm has yet to publish their alleged research study on politics and social media officially.