Did Facebook Give Democrats the Upper Hand?
You didn't know it at the time, but when you logged into Facebook on Election Day, you became a subject in a mass social experiment. You went about your day, clicked around Facebook, and you may have voted. Now your behavior is data that social scientists will scrutinize in the months ahead, asking one of the core questions of democracy: What makes people vote? If patterns from earlier research hold true, the experiment's designer James Fowler says that it is "absolutely plausible that Facebook drove a lot of the increase" in young-voter participation (thought to be up one percentage point from 2008 as a share of the electorate). It is, he continued, "even possible that Facebook is completely responsible."
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