These companies get big bucks to sell their data to companies who want to know which audiences to sell their junk to. How would riots and protests determine what audience wants what kind of laundry detergent?
You're giving their (maybe not so malicious) raison d'etre too much legitimacy. It's not a conspiracy. I bet these subjects hold no interest for them and their client. You are not their client. You are where they get their profits from. You're their cattle. They get their research from mining you and selling this data to other companies. It's simple as that.
Their research ain't for academic and history's sake.