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Facebook Voting: Do We LIKE This?

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Should we be able to vote on Facebook?

According to the social network site's policy director for UK and Ireland, Simon Milner, it's a possibility. "I don't see any reasons why not," he told a Policy Exchange panel at the Labour Party conference chaired by The Huffington Post UK.

"The platform is there," he said, adding that the hardest thing to do would be to change electoral law.

The argument for any change is that it would "re-engage" some voters with the political process. Recent research by the magazine Nature found that messages on Facebook showing friends who voted helped drive 600,000 people to the polls.

"In this experiment we were able to show that if you just looked at the users and whether or not the message directly affected them you'd be missing the whole story; for every user that changed their behaviour, there were four friends who changed their behaviour," Professor James Fowler, who led the research said in September. "The network quadrupled the effect of the 'get out the vote' message."

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At the moment the other way you can vote in this country is either in person, by post or using a proxy, a trusted person on your behalf.

"Electronic voting was tested in 2007 in a pilot in five local authorities in English local elections. We found that they were successful and they did allow for voting although there were some issues with the technology and people had to pre-register to cast their vote electronically, Electoral Commission spokesperson Karim Aziz told The Huffington Post UK.

"Parliament would have to approve any changes to the way we vote in this country."

A spokesperson from the Electoral Reform Society said: “Governments have a duty to make it as easy as possible for citizens to participate in the democratic process. But at the same time they have to minimise the scope for electoral fraud.

"A 'Facebook Election' would be potentially dangerous gimmick, where you could rig an election from the comfort of your smartphone.

"Recent reports have shown over 83 million accounts are fake. Voters need faith in the integrity of the electoral process, and until that's possible with online voting we will have to settle with paper and a pencil."

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