Skip to main content

Facebook using social pressure to push UK election turnout

Facebook is using its massive social influence to push more UK users to vote in the upcoming general election, working with the Electoral Commission to make sure everyone knows when the election is happening and how to vote.

On Thursday, Facebook will push a message on user's News Feed, reminding the need to register. Once the user registers on Facebook, it will post a life event on the user's Timeline, shown to all friends.


This type of indirect social pressure works, according to Facebook 300,000 users became voters through the update. The UK could have similar results, especially with the low turnout in UK elections.

There are more Facebook users in the UK than voters—35 million to be exact—making this social event even more powerful. Considering the average age of Facebook users in the UK, it could boost popularity to some of the newer parties like Greens and UKIP.

On top of Facebook having more active users than UK voters, the six major parties—Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Dems, UKIP, the SNP and the Greens—all have more likes on Facebook pages than actual members.

Internet marketing firm YouGov claims 53 per cent of UK residents under 24 do not know they can vote online, and having this information on Facebook could boost the vote in the general election on May 21st 2015.

Facebook is leading the social charge for government and politics, giving the social network a new topic of discussion. Twitter has not announced any similar plans to make the general election turnout higher, and did not offer anything for the U.S. voting registration.

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.