During the 2016 presidential campaign, social media played a
key role in driving voter turnout. In fact, it has been estimated that Facebook
took in $1.4 billion in digital advertising during the election. It was also
the primary weapon of choice for President Barack Obama's campaign.
Facebook's influence on politics and elections has been
hotly debated. For years, critics have complained that the platform allows free
hands to mislead voters, particularly in the context of elections. However, a
recent study suggests that Facebook may actually help encourage civic
participation. Several studies show that users are more likely to vote when
they have friends who voted. This may be due to peer pressure, as well as the
influence of social media.
While it's still unclear how Facebook actually affects the
outcome of an election, it's clear that political campaigns use social media to
enhance their message. The platform also provides a platform for advertisers to
target specific demographics. Regardless, the company has been the subject of
numerous complaints over the past couple of years, and its CEO, Mark
Zuckerberg, has been accused of being too close to President Trump.
A few months ago, a group of prominent academics and
researchers launched a Facebook-funded research project to explore the ways in
which people trust information they find on the site. Researchers will recruit
200,000-400,000 Americans to participate in a series of experiments. They will
be asked to share data on their usage of the social media site and, if they
choose, download apps that track their behavior online. Some participants will
even be required to stop using the site altogether.
The project will also explore whether or not social media
can improve voter participation. This study is part of a bigger effort to
understand the relationship between technology and democracy.
The main research paper, which is still in the pipeline,
will analyze the effects of different types of media on voting and voter
engagement. It will also take a look at the social and psychological impact of
online political campaigns.
The researchers plan to trawl the site for information on
political ads and user behaviour. The results will be studied by a 17-person
team of leading academics. These individuals will design experiments to test
how the platform can help improve voter engagement and spread misinformation.
Several members of the research team have a particular interest in politics.
One of them is political scientist John Cuevas. He notes that Facebook's
ability to manipulate the news feed could lead to more accurate information
While social media may help encourage citizen involvement in
the upcoming midterms, it also raises a host of other concerns. Among them are
privacy, surveillance, and tech ideology. All of these issues are not limited
to Facebook, but they have been widely reported.