To encourage more political participation for the election year, Facebook is creating its own informational hub.
The Voting Information Center is launching on Facebook and Instagram next month to provide viewers with news about how to register to vote, when and where to vote, posts from state and local election officials, and more voting-related topics. The feature will be housed at the top of a user’s Facebook News Feed or Instagram Stories from July to November, with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg predicting 160 million Americans will see the information on both platforms before Election Day. Facebook is also set to allow users to opt-out of political ads, which could increase loyalty with users, as a Gartner report found users were previously unsatisfied with the platform’s inability to identify and remove inappropriate political ads. Furthermore, the platform will prompt users to register to vote and display up-to-date information on mail-in voting.
Additionally, Facebook is running Election Day reminders, which have proved fruitful in the past. In 2010, when the platform put out a reminder for congressional elections, 340,000 extra voters turned out and cited the Facebook message as their reminder to vote. The brand took a different approach in the 2012 Presidential Election, where almost two million users were shown election-related news stories in their feeds as a subtle reminder to vote. Though Facebook is continuing its voting-promotion approach for the 2020 Election, its new feature comes on the heels of controversy for the social media platform. In recent months, Facebook has been under intense scrutiny for its handling of political content, with workers even staging a walkout over Zuckerberg’s response to the criticism.
Still, Facebook’s new Voting Information Center could encourage political participation, especially with tech-native Gen-Z users, many of whom will be voting in their first election this year. By creating an informational hub on its platforms, Facebook could demonstrate its commitment to bipartisan political content and enhance its position as a voting advocate among existing users.