During the election period, Facebook and Snapchat competed in creativity to encourage their users to go to the polls on March 15 and 22. The two social networks dream of being allies of public affairs, even at the local level.
Since January 28, Facebook has been informing its users that they should not forget to register on the electoral roll before February 7 – date on which registrations will close. With more than 35 million French people active every day, according to figures from the end of 2018, the impact is powerful. The message notably takes the form of a post slipped into your newsfeed (see image below). The body of the text prompts ” make heard (her) voice in elections “.
A “2020 municipal elections” filter
The world's first social network is not the only one. One day after the closing of the electoral lists, Snapchat followed suit. The adored app for young audiences has released a special filter “municipal elections 2020”. The purpose of the operation is to encourage citizens of recent age to vote. In France, the app has 13.2 million active users every day. 60% of 18-34 year olds use the social network daily and 75% each month, according to the company's figures in October 2019.
Is the ambition of the operation up to the democratic challenge? While abstention is strongest among young people, communicating 24 hours before the closing of the registers seems a little fair …
15,000 Facebook moderators
In addition to the innovative devices specially dedicated to the electoral period, social networks, and Facebook in particular, are redoubling their efforts in their fight against false information since the publication of posts explodes. According to the weekly survey of The Opinion, 11,666 messages were published around municipal elections between January 17 and 24, 2020. 17% more than the previous week.
Since the last European elections and their share of trolls pressure from the public authorities is getting stronger. Having taken its share of “responsibility”, Mark Zuckerberg's company currently employs more than 15,000 moderators to filter its network. In May 2017, the human reviewers were only 7,500.
Ban on political advertising in France
In the midst of bloody images, their objective is also to track down the infox. That is to say the wrong polling dates, the false information about this or that candidate or party and especially the false accounts. The social network with 2.5 billion daily users has teamed up with 55 media in 45 languages to certify the publications shared on its pages. It is the device of fact checking developed in France with Les Décodeurs du World, Checknews from Release, AFP Factual and Les Observers de France24.
The role of social networks is limited for the moment to ensuring the veracity of the information disseminated and to warning citizens of their right to vote. In France, political advertising is prohibited on all media six months before the election. However, they are authorized in the United States. Which provokes an outcry. Wednesday February 5, the Web foundation by Tim Berners-Lee issued a press release to denounce these anti-democratic practices. As a result of which the platforms each adopt their strategies: Google limits political targeting, YouTube prohibits partisan advertising, Facebook filters and Twitter bans.