Facebook Asks Users to Declare ‘I’m a Voter’

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 09.48.33For those logged into Facebook this Midterm Elections Day, at the top of many users feed is a box declaring “It’s Election Day” with tabs to declare “I’m a Voter” and for more information, directing to 2014.votinginfoproject.org.

Mother Jones’ Micah L. Sifry writes of Facebook’s past use of the tool, allowing users to declare whether they’ve voted and promote that they have to their friends:

On Election Day, political campaigns, candidates, consultants, and pollsters pay close attention to who votes and why—and so does Facebook. For the past six years, on every national Election Day, the social-networking behemoth has pushed out a tool—a high-profile button that proclaims “I’m Voting” or “I’m a Voter”—designed to encourage Facebook users to vote. Now, Facebook says it has finished fine-tuning the tool, and if all goes according to plan, on Tuesday many of its more than 150 million American users will feel a gentle but effective nudge to vote, courtesy of Mark Zuckerberg & Co. If past research is any guide, up to a few million more people will head to the polls partly because their Facebook friends encouraged them.

Yet the process by which Facebook has developed this tool—what the firm calls the “voter megaphone”—has not been very transparent, raising questions about its use and Facebook’s ability to influence elections. Moreover, while Facebook has been developing and promoting this tool, it has also been quietly conducting experiments on how the company’s actions can affect the voting behavior of its users.

For the full article, click on over to Mother Jones.

[h/t POLITICO Playbook]