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How Facebook is changing voting.

How Facebook is changing voting.


Have you been on Facebook in the last week or two? If you have, you have probably noticed the “I voted” button which you can click and then it is shared with your Facebook friends that you voted. This is an effort by Facebook to increase voter turnout, using what we recently learned in class to be an “information cascade”. Facebook is hoping that if you share with your friends, then they share with their friends and so on that they voted, that hopefully it will prompt an exponential amount of people to vote as well. This is similar to what we learned in class, that if you see many others doing something, you are more likely to. Such as with the example from class that if you plan on going to restaurant A, however when you get there you see restaurant B is packed and restaurant A is empty, you will most likely go to restaurant B.

I know for one that I only voted this year due to the fact that my parents and brother voted, so it prompted me to vote as well. I can see how an information cascade can be very effective, especially with such a large amount of people that Facebook has as users. Facebook reported having over 200 million Facebook users just in the United States. This is an astounding number of people who could be effected by the “I voted” button. Even if 1% of Facebook users who were not planning on voting could be effected, that is over 2,000,000 people. We must figure though not all of the Facebook users are of age to vote, however parent’s kids could also influence their parents to vote.

I also believe that having the “I voted” button on Facebook prompts people to vote just so that if asked, they say “yes I voted”. This is mainly because no one wants to be the person that says they did not vote, especially when so many lives are given to let us have the freedom to be able to vote.

However, even with this large initiative taken on by Facebook, only 36.4% of edible voters voted in the 2014 elections. That is the lowest turnout since 1944 where only 33% of voters voted, seriously affected by the war. So is Facebook helping voter turnout? Only time will tell.


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November 2014