Facebook offers global rollout of “I’m A Voter” button

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During President Barack Obama’s reelection in 2012, more than 9 million citizens clicked on the Facebook “I’m a Voter” button; broadcasting to their online community that they cast a ballot.

The social media platform — with more than 1.5 billion monthly average users globally — will offer versions of the voting feature for national elections worldwide this year, reports Gabriel Debenedetti for Reuters.

More than 4 million voters in India used the “I’m a Voter” button as the world’s largest democracy selected Narendra Modi as the county’s new prime minister, during the country’s parliamentary elections, according to Facebook representatives.

This is another example of how Facebook is striving to integrate into the everyday life of people, as it aims to increase its user base, predominantly in emerging markets.

“I’m a Voter” will also be available during next week’s European Parliament and Colombian elections, as well as for citizens in South Korea, Indonesia, Sweden, Scotland, New Zealand, and Brazil, Debenedetti writes. It will also be in North Americans, during November’s congressional midterms.

Clicking the button will show the status as a voter to online friends, but not how they voted.

In advance of the global rollout, Facebook estimated approximately 400 million people will the see the posts in news feeds – a little more than a third of total users.

A 2012 study published in the scientific journal Nature found that in the 2010 U.S. midterm elections, nearly 340,000 additional people went to the voting booths after seeing a friend had clicked the button to indicate that they cast ballots.

“There is a real social multiplier effect,” said Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone. “When people see on Facebook that their friends have voted, they themselves are motivated to vote.”

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.