At the end of September, Facebook proved that social media is not just a great place to talk about politics, it is a great way to change the political climate. Facebook launched a brief campaign that encouraged people to register to vote by popping up a special message saying, “Are you registered to vote? Register now to make sure you have a voice in the election.” They then offered a link to online voter registration so that people could register freely. We have just seen what the results of this campaign were.
During the time that Facebook had this message up on their site, a huge number of people ended up registering to vote. Many of the people who registered were within the age 17-25 demographic and the 26-35. This means that many young voters have now been registered who may not have registered otherwise. Among the states that saw the most results were California, Minnesota, and Indiana.
The number of people who registered to vote during the four-day period that Facebook’s message was up for is incredible, showing just how social media sites can have an influence on people. Facebook says that their reason for posting the message was to try and get better voter turnouts than we saw in the last presidential election. Their specific goal was to get many younger people to vote in this election so that they can have a say in the political climate of their world.
While many people are talking about how wonderful it is that Facebook has been able to create such a large number of people registering to vote, others worry that this isn’t something that companies should be able to do. Some people are concerned that by influencing young people and telling them to vote, Facebook can have actually made a change to what candidates may be favored as well. Some are pointing to this as a problem with a profitable company and social media site being an influence within the political sphere.