Facebook has helped register a record 4.4 million voters, surpassing its goal for the November election, the company exclusively told USA TODAY on Monday.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg set the goal in June when he announced the massive effort to increase turnout in a USA TODAY op-ed.
The unprecedented ballot-box push exceeds previous Facebook efforts and large-scale registration campaigns such as Rock the Vote in 2016, which registered 1.7 million.
“This year, we launched the largest voting information campaign in U.S. history, with the goal of helping 4 million people register to vote,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. “Today, we hit our goal.”
Facebook-fueled registration figures could grow. Online registration is still open in five states, where Facebook is running notifications at the top of Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. The figure, derived from conversion rates Facebook calculated from a few states it partnered with, also does not include registrations in the last few days.
The social media giant is pulling out all the stops to encourage more Americans to hit the polls, part of an unprecedented effort by social media companies to increase turnout during a highly contentious election cycle.
Facebook and other social media companies stepped in when the coronavirus has interrupted traditional voter registration drives door-to-door, on college campuses or in mall parking lots and voter registration numbers plunged as the pandemic spread in the spring.
The get-out-the-vote initiative benefited from the vast reach Facebook, Instagram and Messenger have in American life. It was also an acknowledgment of the harm from foreign interference, divisive messages, falsehoods and conspiracy theories in previous election cycles.
With the election days away, the pressure has never been higher on social media.
Facebook says it has taken steps to keep political candidates and their campaigns from using its social media platforms to cast doubt on the election and its outcome. It has also prepared emergency “break-glass” measures to restrict content on its platforms if civil unrest and violence erupt following the presidential election…Read more>>