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Facebook pushes out “I’m a voter” feature globally

Are you a voter? Increasing apathy regarding politics may mean the answer to that question is a no, but Facebook is going to be offering those who do vote the chance to declare that fact for all to see.

Previously, the 'I'm a Voter' feature allowed those in the US to declare they'd chosen their political allegiance in the 2012 election – and some nine million Americans did so.

Now, the Telegraph reports that Facebook intends to roll this system out globally – to places where elections are taking place, naturally – and recently brought the concept to India, during the election last month, where some four million Indians utilised it to let their friends know they were politically active (or perhaps we should say, not totally politically dormant).

You could look at this as a move to encourage people to get to the ballot box and cast their vote – by seeing that their friends have done so – or a move for Facebook to eke just a little bit more data out of its user base. All right, maybe we're getting carried away on the data front – but knowing someone votes could be a helpful aspect of ad pushing in small ways.

Note that how you vote isn't made clear – that really would be controversial. All the feature does is let people know you've pledged your vote to a party, not which one.

Facebook does seem busy trying to drum up new ways to accrue data on its users of late. Earlier today, we reported on the 'ask' feature being extended to relationships – meaning those who haven't filled in their relationship status can be prodded by friends to do so. To the social network's benefit, of course, if that status field does end up being filled in (and other fields under the 'about' section are also subject to asking in the same manner).

The voter button will be live for those partaking of the European Parliament and Colombian elections later this week, and for many more countries holding elections as the year goes on, including South Korea, Sweden, Scotland, Brazil, Indonesia and New Zealand.