The immediate consensus by early polls, the conventional press and even the blogosphere that Mitt Romney won Wednesday's presidential debate eroded significantly as social media fact-checkers weighed in, according to analysis of the conversation on Twitter, Facebook and
blogs by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism and NBC News.
Even as Romney was being hailed as the victor in the minutes immediately after the debate on Wednesday, a small question was already being raised about "Facts" across all the social media channels.
By late Thursday afternoon, those questions had become prominent, as commenters cited analyses by partisan and nonpartisan fact-checkers. Particularly influential was a commentary Thursday morning by the liberal blog Think Progress:
Pundits from both sides of the aisle have lauded Mitt Romney's strong debate performance, praising his preparedness and ability to challenge President Obama's policies and accomplishments. But Romney only accomplished this goal by repeatedly misleading viewers. He spoke for 38 minutes of the 90 minute debate and told at least 27 myths.
By Friday morning, the counterargument that Obama had actually won on substance had taken root, with online sentiment now favoring the president.
The analysis suggests that Twitter and Facebook can be powerful disseminators of opinion once commenters have time to digest the news and marshal their arguments.