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Why Facebook's 'Voter Megaphone' Is the Real Manipulation to Worry About

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, July 3 2014

Two years ago, on the morning of the 2012 election in the United States, I got an email with an urgent subject line: "You should write the story of how Facebook blew an opportunity to turn out 300k voters." The sender, a veteran progressive online activist who would prefer to remain anonymous, was upset for good reason. The election was bound to be close, and as of 10am that morning he hadn't yet seen an "I'm Voting" button on his Facebook page, nor had another colleague of his. Nor was one on my own Facebook page. Given that when Facebook deployed a similar "I Voted" button in 2010, and added messages in users' News Feeds showing them the names and faces of friends who had said they voted, the cumulative effect boosted turnout then by at least 340,000 votes, these activists had good reason to be concerned. Facebook had announced that it was going to do the same thing in 2012, and this time around its American user base had grown enormously, from 61 million to more than 160 million. A social and visible nudge like an "I 'm Voting" button had the potential to measurably increase turnout, even more so as Facebook was including a useful tool to help people find their polling places. And yet on Election Day 2012 its deployment was far from universal. Facebook was conducting research on us. Read More

WeGov

Facebook Rolls Out Voter Megaphone Internationally

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, May 21 2014

(Facebook)

Facebook is rolling out a revamped version of its "I'm a Voter" tool internationally after a successful test run in the recent Indian elections, beginning with the European Parliament elections that run from Thursday to ... Read More

Campaigns & Elections Magazine Announces "CampaignTech Innovators"

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, April 5 2012

Campaigns & Elections magazine has announced its 2012 CampaignTech Innovators in the areas of campaigns, advocacy, Capitol Hill and nonpartisan innovation. Candidates are nominated by their peers. The winners "all demonstrate a visionary approach to the future of digital politics and advocacy," according to Campaigns and Elections. The recipients will officially receive the awards on April 19 at the CampaignTech Conference in Washington D.C., and most of the names will be familiar to regular techPresident readers. Read More

The Pocket Campaign: Mobile Politics in 2012

BY Jack Harris | Monday, March 26 2012

Toronto mayoral candidate Rocco Rossi canvasses with an iPad in 2010. Photo: Rocco Rossi

The past two years offer several fresh, new examples of how causes and campaigns willing to experiment with mobile technology reported back that they were rewarded with a network of more engaged, more empowered volunteers. Last year, for example, activists fought tooth-and-nail in several states around ballot initiatives and recall efforts. In those fights, often for the first time, grassroots organizers began to ask volunteers to work on their phones and tablets. At the same time, candidates in 2011 local and congressional races took advantage of mobile tools and tactics that had been developed in higher-profile races in prior years, but had now become cost-effective for the small campaign. This special report updates that tranche of examples with case studies from across the country. Each one explores how mobile technology has become part of the organizing, messaging and fund-raising strategy of some tech-savvy causes and campaigns. Read More

Politics is Mobile, According to New Pew Report

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, December 23 2010

As much as 26 percent of the adult American population may have engaged with the midterm elections using their mobile phone, according to a study released today by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Online ... Read More

Join Rudy joins us in the modern world

BY David All | Tuesday, September 4 2007

As the Washington Post reported, this past weekend visitors to Rudy Giuliani's campaign website (www.joinrudy2008.com) came face-to-face with a placeholder which read, "Happy Labor Day Weekend! JoinRudy2008.com is down ... Read More

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NY Study Shows How Freedom of Information Can Inform Open Data

On New York State's open data portal, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation has around 40 data resources of varying sizes, such as maps of lakes and ponds and rivers, bird conservation areas and hiking trails. But those datasets do not include several data resources that are most sought after by many New York businesses, a new study from advocacy group Reinvent Albany has found. Welcome to a little-discussed corner of so-called "open government"--while agencies often pay lip service to the cause, the data they actually release is sometimes nowhere close to what is most wanted. GO

Responding to Ferguson, Activists Organize #NMOS14 Vigils Across America In Just 4 Days

This evening peaceful crowds will gather at more than 90 locations around the country to honor the victims of police brutality, most recently the unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday. A moment of silence will begin at 20 minutes past 7 p.m. (EST). The vigils are being organized almost entirely online by the writer and activist Feminista Jones (@FeministaJones), with help from others from around the country who have volunteered to coordinate a vigil in their communities. Organizing such a large event in only a few days is a challenge, but in addition to ironing out basic logistics, the National Moment of Silence (#NMOS14) organizers have had to deal with co-optation, misrepresentation, and Google Docs and Facebook pages that are, apparently, buckling under traffic.

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NDI Launches Open Source DemTools for International Development

Yesterday the National Democratic Institute launched a suite of web-based applications created for their partner organizations, mostly pro-democracy groups and political parties around the world. These “DemTools,” which are ready-to-use but can also be customized, will give organizations in developing countries some of the capabilities that political activists and parties in the United States have had for years. Moreover, since the National Democratic Institute (NDI) is making the promise to host partner organization's applications in the cloud essentially forever, they hope these applications will help usher in a period of more sustainable tech.

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