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Social Pressure on Social Media: Using Facebook Status Updates to Increase Voter Turnout

Journal of Communication

Published online on


The widespread adoption of the Internet offers tangible potential for increasing political participation through disseminating digital reminders to vote. This study presents three experiments in which confederates mobilize members of their networks to vote by tagging them in Facebook status updates. Relying on the technological affordances of Facebook, treatments publicize individuals' past participation or failure to vote in an ongoing election. The results show substantial increases in turnout greater than that which is usually produced by face‐to‐face methods. Findings suggest that digital media offer citizens the potential to generate tremendous gains in voter participation, and address concerns that our increasingly digitally networked society may prove harmful to democracy.