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Earlier this week, a man used the news of Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson’s breakup as clickbait to draw people into Vote.org, and the tweeter, Tim Cigelske, said he got the idea from another account that did something similar with fake news of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West splitting up.
The move was divisive: Some thought it was a clever way to engage people, others rolled their eyes at the dupe. Elle magazine probably had good intentions when it tried its own bait-and-switch on Thursday, but people had already had enough. And, as many pointed out, it’s different when a media outlet is spreading misinformation.
The link takes you to When We All Vote, which has an Elle-branded page. But it was too late. The thread got heated. People criticized Elle for not believing its readers could register to vote without clicking on celebrity news.
This is trash nonsense. Who do you think you are reaching with this? Guess what? One can be civic minded and interested in celebrity gossip. Do better.— roxane gay (@rgay) October 18, 2018
Actually this is insulting to all women...why use click bait for voter registration? Do you assume readers of @ELLEmagazine aren’t smart enough to understand the importance of registering to vote?— cloud9yogi in SLC (@darylwolke) October 18, 2018
It was pointed out that Ashlee Marie Preston, a transgender writer and activist who is running for California State Assembly, tweeted this same Kim/Kanye news on Oct. 12, when it had a little more resonance. She got in the thread too. BuzzFeed reports that the Grande-Davidson tweet actually swayed public opinion.
And people registered...you’re welcome 👌🏾— Ashlee Marie Preston (@AshleeMPreston) October 18, 2018
As of Oct. 18, the voter registration deadline for more than half the states has already passed, though more than a dozen states allow it up to and on Election Day.
I'd have a lot more respect for Elle if that fake "Kim/Kanye split" tweet had linked to goatse than I do for it going to a voter registration page on October 18th, after over half of states have closed their windows to register.— Jeff B. (@EsotericCD) October 18, 2018
Elle has previously tweeted about people getting registered to vote, without clickbait.
Audra Schroeder is the Daily Dot’s senior entertainment writer, and she focuses on streaming, comedy, and music. Her work has previously appeared in the Austin Chronicle, the Dallas Observer, NPR, ESPN, Bitch, and the Village Voice. She is based in Austin, Texas.