December 2, 2020

Facebook helped 4.4 million people register to vote in the U.S. this year


People vote at the Queens Public Library during early voting for the U.S. Presidential election on October 24, 2020 in the Jackson Heights neighborhood in the Queens borough in New York City.

Stephanie Keith | Getty Images

Facebook said Monday its apps helped 4.4 million people register to vote for the 2020 U.S. election.

The company set a goal in June to help 4 million people register to vote in the upcoming election through Facebook, Messenger and Instagram. By comparison, it estimates it helped 2 million people register in 2016 and 2018.

The huge uptick shows social media companies’ increasing reach in targeting potential voters. Facebook earlier in the year introduced a voting information center to share resources about voting, such as how to register and how to vote.

The information center explains that, due to the spread of coronavirus and an increased number of people voting by mail, the election results may not be available for days or weeks after Nov. 3. It also pinned a message at the top of users’ feeds with information about the election, like voting deadlines.

Some of the changes likely stem from evidence that accounts operated by Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA) attempted to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election through misinformation and manipulation of public opinion.

Snapchat, widely popular among a younger user base, also reported a surge in users registering through the platform in 2020. The company has helped more than 1 million people register to vote this year, almost triple the number of voters it reported in the 2018 midterms.

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