On Monday, Facebook said it helped 4.4 million people register to vote on its platforms, surpassing a June metric it set for itself.
This past summer, Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch of a voter information tool and said he wanted to improve turnout in the presidential election by registering 4 million people. There are 190 million users in the U.S., and by comparison, with estimates that it helped 2 million people register in 2016 and 2018.
The massive uptick illustrates the growing reach of social media firms to target potential voters. This year, Facebook launched a voter information center to exchange voting tools, such as registering and voting.
The information center states that the election results will not be available for days or weeks after Nov. 3 due to the coronavirus’s spread and an increased number of people voting by mail. It also pinned a message with information about the election at the top of user feeds, such as voting deadlines. Registration figures fueled by Facebook could rise.
In five states, where Facebook runs updates at the top of Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger, online registration is still open. The number, derived from Facebook’s conversion rates measured from a few states with which it has collaborated, also does not include the registrations over the last few days.
Facebook is not the only tech company that launched a voter registration campaign before the election in November. Snapchat initiated a similar campaign in August, which led to registering more than 1 million people to vote in its young user base.
In the lead up to the 2020 presidential election, tech companies, in general, have faced heightened urgency this year to crack down on election interference and political disinformation.
Social media platforms state that they are on high alert for disinformation that could sway voters or tip the election in favor of one candidate. National intelligence officials have warned Americans that Iran and Russia seek to spread disinformation ahead of the election.
But since then, Facebook has announced it will ban political advertising indefinitely beginning the day after the election and apply labels to posts that touch on the legitimacy of voting methods by alleging that lawful voting methods would lead to fraud.
President Donald Trump has previously made false allegations that electoral fraud would result from mail-in voting. Facebook has said it will mark posts by presidential candidates claiming victory prematurely before counting the official election results.