If you’re in the UK or the Netherlands then chances are you may have seen – or be about to see – a message appear in your Facebook news feed. It reminds you that it’s election day, and has a link to where you can find your local polling station. It also tells you which of your friends have hit the “I’m a Voter” button on Facebook, to show they’ve voted. … Interestingly, research suggests the feature may actually increase the turnout in elections by a small, but statistically significant, percentage. A studypublished in Nature looking at 2010 congressional elections in the US concluded that 340,000 extra people voted as a result. The biggest influencer was not the message itself, but the impact of seeing close friends who had clicked the “I’m a Voter” button.
But would why Facebook want to encourage people to vote? “It’s a no-brainer,” says Bernie Hogan, a research fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute. “The question is why wouldn’t Facebook want to do this – it’s good press for them.” Facebook is keen to present itself as a force for good in the world, says Hogan, and more than any other social network, is particularly suited to people to sharing the things that shape their image or identity – including politics. Facebook says elections were the second most popular topic of discussion on the site globally last year, after the Pope.
Full Article: BBC News – #BBCtrending: Why does Facebook want you to vote?.