A study conducted suggests that I’m a voter button on Facebook encourages people to vote.
A study published in Nature has suggested that the I’m a voter button on Facebook has largely been successful in getting people out of their homes to vote. An estimated 340,000 more people voted in the 2010 US congressional elections that saw President Barack Obama take charge of the US government for the second straight term.
The power that a small button on Facebook is immense. The study conducted by taking 61 million users in collaboration with Facebook data research team. The ‘I’m a voter’ button operated simply on the basis of social pressure. Once a person had voted, he/she would click on I’m a voter and it would show up in their friend’s news feed.
This was a major influencing factor in the decision for people to vote or not. Along with this, Facebook also offered information about where the closest polling station was, based on a person’s location. The study was conducted by James Fowler, who is a political scientist at the University of California, San Diego.
During his study, Fowler realized that only the close friends of the person affected whether they would vote or not. The average number of Facebook friends is 150 and out of them, people are usually only close to 10. Social pressure was another key to make people vote.
Facebook has a huge role to play in things like these and governments all around the world will be looking to see how they can improve voting numbers in their countries in the future.