voting

Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives,Cornell University Library/Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY)

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report by the New York Times shows efforts by Facebook to increase civic participation in the 2016 election have had a major effect on voter registration.

Officials from nine states told the Times that a reminder displayed on the social network for four days last month resulted in a noticeable boost in citizens registering to vote.

On the first day Facebook displayed a notice at the top of users' news feeds asking “Are you registered to vote?” over 123,000 people registered to vote on California's online voter registration portal—one of the highest single-day figures in the state's history. Indiana and Minnesota also noted record or near-record totals of new registrations during the duration of Facebook's registration drive.

This instance is far from the first time Facebook has moved to encourage its users to vote. When the company deployed a button that allowed users to tell their friends “I voted,” a study conducted by researchers at University of California, San Diego found that the feature had driven some 60,000 people to the polls.

Facebook is planning to deploy a similar mobilization reminder when election day rolls around on Nov. 8.

While Facebook showed the registration notice to all of its U.S-based users equally, the demographics of the people who use the platform doesn't entirely line up with America as a whole. According to to a 2005 study by the Pew Research Center, Facebook tends to skew young and female—demographic groups that have a tendency to lean toward Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton rather than Republican nominee Donald Trump.

H/T New York Times

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