Facebook’s influence on political outcomes is coming under scrutiny, as recent studies show the social network having “extraordinary influence” on voters. One study followed people tagged by their friends on the social network that reminded them to vote. The results demonstrated that people reminded to vote by their friends increased turnout at the polls by 15% – 24%.
Secretary of State Alex Padilla points to 650,000 new voter registrations in California following a reminder that informed people of the state’s registration deadline.
The social media giant also influenced voters in the United Kingdom. The company reminded residents in the UK to register to vote on a referendum to leave the European Union. The United Kingdom reported that 186,000 people registered to vote online after being prompted by Facebook.
The company has been under pressure after allegations that user newsfeed displayswere biased. Facebook has rolled out guidelines that govern the site’s newsfeed to show that the company is encouraging people to vote, not trying to influence voters at the polls.
Facebook has worked with candidates in an effort to teach politicians how to use the company’s platform. Advice has been given to politicians on how to use the company’s Facebook Live feature, and how to boost engagement on their respective pages.