Can social media help encourage Americans to vote this election? Some of the biggest sites are giving it a shot.
Since last week, Instagram has been promoting a pro-registration video to users of voting age. Embedded within the post's caption is a link to the federal government's registration site, vote.usa.gov.
“We love the election conversation happening on Instagram and between so many first-time voters,” said John Tass-Parker, Instagram’s politics and government outreach manager.
Millennials make up a huge portion of Instagram's user base, with Iconosquare reporting that 73 percent of Instagram's users are ages 15 to 35. Two-thirds of the Instagram users who follow the presidential candidates' accounts are voting-age millennials. Young people are historically less active voters, and this particular generation has especially low turnout rates, with the under-30 bloc showing the lowest voting rate for nonpresidential elections in the past half-century.
Twitter has also launched an initiative to encourage its users to register to vote. When users send a direct message to the @Gov Twitter account with their 5-digit Zip code, the account will automatically message back a registration link, as well as information on their state's voter registration deadline. Twitter said it saw an average of 50 DMs per minute shortly after launching, but couldn't point to more specific data.
Social network behemoth Facebook turned on a notification feature directed at voting-age users reminding them to register. The “register now” button at the top of the news feed prompts users to go to vote.usa.gov to register.
Snapchat partnered with TurboVote, a voter registration app that allows anyone to register from their phone, and created pro-voting videos featuring celebrities such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. If a user swipes up on the video, Snapchat redirects them to the TurboVote page.
Other popular websites are also launching campaigns to encourage registration. Google and Uber paired up to send millions of Uber drivers and riders an email linking them to Google's voter registration search tool.