The votes are in: Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United Sates. That is, if a poll bot developed by Israeli company Viber especially for tomorrow’s election in the Land of the Free can accurately predict the real results.
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Last week, popular call and messaging app Viber launched a global election poll bot. The poll bot asked Viber users who they would vote for in the November 8 US presidential elections.
Recent US polls, including the one conducted by Reuters and Ipsos, predicted that Clinton will become the next president of the US – in line with Viber’s poll results.
Viber‘s unique experiment provided insight into the preferences of its user base. “While Viber’s election bot wasn’t a scientific poll, it was nevertheless able to reach over 170,000 users in the US who voiced their opinion about the elections,” the company said in a statement today. “Viber was able to achieve this result in just a few days, demonstrating the platform’s ability to quickly reach a massive audience, far bigger than most election poll samples.”
Viber users in the US selected Clinton over Trump by a margin of 98,100 to 51,301; about 20,000 participants replied “I don’t care.” Additional figures from the poll show that iOS users were slightly more likely to vote for Clinton. She won iOS users by 18 points and Android users by 14 points. In addition, Clinton won female Viber users by 22 points.
In this whirlwind of an election, there has been a whole lot of talk about polling, with a large portion of the political discourse surrounding whether polls are rigged, inaccurate, or unbalanced.
“While a global poll bot may not follow the scientific methodology of old-school election polls, bringing polling into the social messaging sphere has the potential to reveal interesting information,” Viber said in a statement.
How did it work? The bot began by asking the user who they would vote for, providing the following options: 1. Hillary Rodham Clinton, 2. Donald John Trump, and 3. I DON’T CARE. Once they voted, the bot asked the user whether they are an Android or iOS user, their gender, and the age range they belong to.
“A new standard for political discussion”
“This election season has been unique, to say the least, and the engagement on social media by both the candidates and the voters has set a new standard for political discussion,” Michael Shmilov, Viber COO, said in a statement. “We hope this brand new method of polling will encourage new involvement of social platforms in political dialogue.”
Founded in 2010 by Talmon Marco and Igor Megzinik, Israeli company Viber allows people to connect through individual messaging, video calls and group chats, using Wi-Fi networks or mobile ones. In 2014, it was acquired by Japanese commerce giant Rakuten for a whopping $900 million.
Photos: Viber, Tom Arthur