At the end of September, if you pulled up Facebook, you likely saw a little reminder that today was a good day to register to vote. If you’re one of the 146 million people already registered, you likely ignored it alongside the game notifications and ads. But it was a good reminder, it turns out, for a dramatic number of people.
It was pretty simple: Running between September 23rd and September 26th, the little banner redirected to the government’s voter registration portal, which walks new registrants through the process. Data from 16 states shows that Facebook’s reminder worked, with some states reporting a twenty-three-fold increase in registrations the day the Facebook note went live, according to Mashable. Illinois, for example, went from just under 3,000 registrations to just over 30,000 the day the notice went live. It was so effective, nine different states praised Facebook for getting the word out.
It was most effective the first day it went live, with some fairly dramatic drop-offs the second day. That said, though, many of the states wrapped up the campaign with higher numbers than they had before it started, which is good news for the effort. It also raises the question of what else Facebook can do to raise awareness. It’s often talked about as an advertising platform, and it undeniably has issues surrounding privacy, but this demonstrates there may be some upsides to the social network in all our lives.