How Facebook is Influencing The U.S. Elections

The world’s largest social network is proving to play a big part in the upcoming U.S. general elections. Back in September, Facebook issued a reminder to American citizens urging them to register so that they can place their all-important vote in November.

Just the other day, U.S. officials said that Facebook had been responsible for a tremendous growth in registrations across the country. The reminder, sent out to 32 states, read “Are you registered to vote? Register now to make sure you have a voice in the election”. 

The message appeared at the top of users News Feeds, allowing people to notify their friends that they are already registered to vote, whilst providing a link to federal state registration sites to those who hadn’t.

On its first day, the reminder yielded 123,279 registrations in the state of California, representing the fourth highest daily total in the history of the state’s registration website.

Similarly, Indiana experienced its third-highest daily online registration total since records began. Minnesota on the other hand, broke its record for most online registrations in one week, which experts solely attribute to the efforts of Facebook’s reminder campaign.

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Not only did Facebook manage to bolster voter registrations, it also helped to reach out to a younger demographic. In California for example, just short of 24% of online voter registrations during the Facebook campaign came from citizens aged 17 to 25. A further 30% came from citizens aged 26 to 35.

“Facebook clearly moved the needle in a significant way,” Alex Padilla, California’s secretary of state, said. “It’s pretty clear that the Facebook reminder campaign disproportionately motivated young people to register” he continued.

Thanks to the Ad Council, Facebook now has an automated chat robot on its messenger platform, designed to take prospective voters through the sign-up process. The robot, named GoVoteBot, simplifies the task of registering whilst providing some humour along the way.

facebook-messenger-bot-for-voters

“It has a bit of a cheeky personality,” said the Ad Council’s VP of campaign development, Dzu Bui. “But it’s completely nonpartisan — it has no opinion on who you vote for.”

Type an introductory message, and it will respond with a drop-down menu of options including a polling station locator in addition to registration options and links. Once you inform the bot that the process is completed, it responds with “You’re looking at one proud GoVoteBot!”. 

“We set out to encourage millennials to vote, but wanted to find a fun and simple way to have a conversation where they are,” said Chloe Gottlieb, the executive creative director at ad agency R/GA, which partnered with the Ad Council specifically for the campaign.

“For us, it made sense to create this on Facebook Messenger. We designed it to pull in thousands of data points from all 50 states and then streamed it into one interface

[participants] could use quickly and easily.”

In addition to this, Facebook ad space will also be donated for free to target newly eligible voters and people who’ve just moved; two groups that are more likely to skip registration, according to various studies.

These developments alone, signal Facebook’s commitment to encouraging people (especially younger voters) to engage in the forthcoming elections, whilst demonstrating the power it possesses to influence the outcome. Whatever the result may be, Facebook seems to have cemented itself as a key player in future presidential elections.

By | 2017-10-20T14:23:22+00:00 October 14th, 2016|Artificial Intelligence, Social Media|0 Comments

About the Author:

Jamie follows all things digital marketing, with a primary focus on consumer behaviour, branding and creative content. Jamie also keeps a close eye on new developments in the evolving world of social media.

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