Originally published: September 12, 2012
Last updated: September 19, 2012 - 9:23pm
Online peer pressure has a strong influence on getting out the vote, according to a new study released by researchers at the University of California in San Diego (UCSD). About one third of a million more people showed up to vote in the United States during the 2010 midterm elections because of a single Facebook message posted on Election Day. The study is good news both for Facebook, an increasingly indispensable political tool, and for the many political campaigns now using the popular social network to connect with supporters. The study is a strong indication that online support, measured on Facebook as “likes,” and engagement, measured as the number of people “talking about” a branded page, has measurable offline consequences. The study, published in the interdisciplinary scientific journal Nature, is based on an experiment involving a nonpartisan, pro-voting Facebook post viewed by 60 million users on Election Day in Nov. 2010.