Facebook Encourages Users To Vote In 2012 Election

By Jennifer Moire 

It’s Election Day 2012, and with democracy in full swing, Facebook wants users to know how they can participate. Facebook users will have a hard time missing the reminder.

First, users over the age of 18 will see a message at the top of their news feed reminding them to go vote, along with a link to the Polling Place Locator, an application that lets users find out where to vote. The app was developed with the non-partisan Voting Information Project and is a joint project of VIP, Facebook, and Microsoft.

Then, users who are of voting age can remind their friends to vote by clicking on the “I’m Voting,” or “I’m a Voter,” button, and posting stories to their timelines, which will appear in their friends’ news feeds. Individuals will also see the faces of their friends who have already shared that they are voters, and a real-time counter will display the number of people in the U.S. who have clicked the button.

Mobile users are also seeing a prompt in their notifications:

One study indicates that Facebook can play an influential role in how friends vote. About one-third of a million more people in the U.S. showed up at the ballot box in the last midterm elections due to a Facebook message on Election Day, a recent study led by the University of California, San Diego found.

Facebook will then aggregate the data, and users can visit a real-time heat map on the Facebook Stories website that will display where people are voting throughout the country.

Political junkies can visit the U.S. Politics on Facebook page throughout the day for more fodder about the election.

Facebook also released a list of Election-based terms that have gained popularity over the past 24 hours:

  1. Vote (all forms: go vote, voting, get out and vote, I voted, the right to vote)
  2. Election Day/Happy Election Day
  3. Line
  4. Polls
  5. Voice

Here are the top Facebook mention spikes among users in the United States (compared to yesterday):

  • Vote – up 2,816 percent
  • Ballot – up 1,638 percent
  • Lines – up 814 percent
  • Election – up 746 percent
  • Swing state – up 458 percent
  • Obama – up 375 percent
  • President – up 328 percent
  • Battleground state – up 269 percent
  • Romney – up 138 percent

Readers: Do you plan on using any of these Facebook resources today?