TECH
04/02/2015 09:40 GMT | Updated 04/02/2015 09:59 GMT

Facebook Voting Registration Drive Aims To Use Social Pressure To Improve UK Election Turnout

Every adult in the UK with a Facebook account will be shown a reminder to register to vote on Thursday.

The social network and the Electoral Commission will show the message in the newsfeed of each of the 35 million UK Facebook users who will be eligible to vote on May 7th 2015.

For context there are now more monthly UK visitors to Facebook than there are people who voted at the last UK General Election.

The effort to drive registration via Facebook will also include the ability for users to post a ‘life event’ telling others they have registered to vote. It’s said to be effective - 300,000 people voted in the US after seeing Facebook posts about it in 2010.

facebook

Above: how the alert will appear in your feed

Facebook also points out that the Conservative Party, Labour, the Liberal Democrat Party, UKIP, the SNP and the Green Party have twice as many Facebook followers (1.2 million) as they do actual members (530,000). Facebook recently hosted a 'Meet The Leaders' event at its London HQ to quiz the main parties on policies via social media before the campaign begins.

There will also be a separate advertising campaign launched by the Electoral Commission informing the public that they can register online of the first time. A YouGov pol said that almost 53% of all voters under 24 don’t know they can register online.

Elizabeth Linder, Facebook’s Politics & Government Specialist for the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region said:

“Over 35 million people in the UK use Facebook, considerably more than the number of people who voted in the last General Election. We’re seeing that many of them are already using the platform to have their say on who should govern this country after May 7th. We expect the election to be one of the most talked about topics on Facebook of 2015, and we hope that through partnerships like this one with the Electoral Commission, we can make sure those conversations lead to higher turnout on May 7th.”