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First POST: Voters Speak

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, November 5 2014

Inside the GOP's big listening machine; how the midterm vote played out on Facebook and Twitter; how tech isn't (and is) addressing inequality; and much, much more. Read More

How Progressive Groups Used Facebook to Check 2014 Voting Behavior

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, November 4 2014

(via Jeff Lennan)

Facebook ran its "voter megaphone" initiative in the United States Tuesday, letting users indicate whether they are voting and see similar messages from their friends, as our Micah Sifry has been covering in detail. But what about the possibility of actually being able to verify that your Facebook friends have voted? That is the functionality made possible through a tool in use over the past week ins Oregon, Washington and Colorado. Built by developer Josh Cohen, it lets users check whether their Facebook friends in those states participated in early voting based on ballot data and send them a Facebook message. Read More

First POST: Big Bad Data

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, November 4 2014

Why big data is bad for political reporting and campaigns; tracking Facebook's voter megaphone; a progress report on the Loomio group decision-making platform; and much, much more. Read More

Help Us #FactcheckFacebook's Election Efforts Today

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, November 4 2014

Master OSM 2011/flickr

Today is Election Day in the United States, and along with the many efforts by campaigns and advocacy groups to get out their voters, Facebook is taking a big step to push people to the polls. As I reported last week for Mother Jones, for the first time in six years, Facebook says it is rolling out its "voter megaphone"--a banner across the top of each user's page like the one shown above--to all of its users above the age of 18 in the United States. That's somewhere upwards of 150 million people, if all goes according to plan. Will it work? And will the company do it in a neutral manner? We're asking readers to help answer those questions. Read More

First POST: Scary Monsters

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, October 31 2014

Facebook opens up about its experiments on tweaking voting behavior; breaking news in the FCC net neutrality battle; getting hard data on civic tech's impact on political efficacy; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Increasing

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, October 3 2014

Debating the merits of FireChat for Hong Kong's protests; how Occupy Central could win; how the DCCC's email fundraising tactics have gone crazy; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Intercepted

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, July 7 2014

NSA intercepts of foreign targets capture data mainly from Americans and other uninvolved parties; Participant Media's new tool for determining the impact of socially-conscious media; Lawrence Lessig's MayDayPAC hits its July 4th crowdfunding goal; and much, much more. Read More

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