More the ‘likes’ on Facebook, more the votes! This seems to be an emerging trend for politicians around the world who are increasingly using social media platforms like Facebook to reach out to a larger voter base including the younger generation.
Yes, the internet can elect your next President and Prime Minister. Hard to believe? We can prove it to you. All thanks to @realDonaldTrump.
Here are 4 reasons why the politicians around the globe are using this tool for propagating their ideology:
1. Facebook enables efficient dissemination of information during the elections
The government is beginning to realize the importance of Facebook because it’s young voters are there and not on Twitter. Facebook and Google have been political digital ad spend leaders in the 2016 US elections. In fact, it is going all out to woo the governments and political parties to become the default platform for both -information dissemination and citizen engagement. Facebook has received a lot of flak and ire from its users, but it is shrugging off the dirt and moving on; taking its new found political role rather seriously and why not?
The ‘My Vote’ app, created in partnership with Microsoft and Washington State, gives the users the opportunity to register and review useful voter information. Yet another feature allows Facebook users to go directly to a politician’s fan page for up-to-date information and one-on-one interaction by private messages or posting on their walls. Contact with politicians makes them accountable for their words and actions.
2. Helps the politicians to reach a larger voter base
Algorithmic curation, fake news and automation are the latest entrants in the virtual political arena. These ‘social media optimization techniques’ have changed the face of politics and elections in particular. Popularly used by Facebook, algorithmic curation is also used by political parties to ensure that their message rides home onto many timelines and news feeds as possible.
It combs through all of one’s posts and that of one’s family and friends and selects the stories it thinks are relevant and more importantly most comforting to that person. Algorithmic curation is another vital way for Facebook to get paid promotion. Thus your news feed is not news at all. We now exist in these curated environments, in our own bubble of space, where our choices are narrowed down by agencies… Like George Orwell’s psychological thriller ‘1984’
3. It provides instant analysis of the information
Politicians, in turn, receive instant feedback enabling campaign strategists to analyze information to their advantage and rally new supporters, consolidate existing ones and also take corrective action if necessary. Facebook’s 1 billion-plus users have influenced political processes not only in the United States but also abroad. The Arab Spring uprisings, the Brexit vote, the French elections and now Germany elections due in September 2017. In India too, the buzz for the forthcoming general elections in 2019 has already started. 50% of its 520 million inter
net users are on Facebook and that is why the Election Commission has collaborated with them to launch a ‘voter registration reminder’ in 13 Indian languages.
4. Fake Facebook groups attract real fans
Far more serious damage in the political arena, however, is done by fake news and automation. Supporters of Trump were a happy lot when an article shared million times on Facebook stated that Pope Francis had endorsed Mr. Trump’s candidature. Another article doing the rounds was about the death of FBI agent who was investigating Hillary Clinton.
These were completely fake news. Automation too plays similar havoc. A post with 25,000 re-tweets or shares comes into your timeline but you don’t know how many of them are human. In fact, what blurs the line between fake and real is that the fake Facebook groups that attract real fans that feel inclined to declare their support for a candidate going by the artificially created support for him/her.