Joe Biden said he would make wearing a mask in public compulsory, furthering himself on the issue from President Trump, who has stressed that masks are voluntary and has flouted public health recommendations.
“We found that once the parties started to figure out the political implications of the issue, polarization was evident in the tweets pretty quickly,” said study co-author Jon Green.
[Read: Democrats counter Trump’s fake coronavirus news with AI that fought ISIS propaganda] In the week following the first mention of COVID-19, the algorithm struggled to determine whether a Republican or a Democrat had written the tweets.
Researchers from Ohio State University trained the algorithm to guess which political party members of Congress belonged to by analyzing their tweets about the pandemic.
As the researchers put in their paper: Given the high levels of polarization in the American electorate, citizens are less likely to change their behavior in ways that correspond to the consensus of public health experts if there is not a political consensus that such changes are necessary.
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