August 11, 2020


Erica Perry


During the 2018 midterm elections, Snapchat registered more than 450,000 voters through its app. Of this group, 50 percent of those surveyed cast ballot papers. The platform announces a number of new tools and features to help prepare young people for the November vote.

Of the 100 million US users, 80 percent are at least 18 years old, and between 300,000 and 500,000 Snapchat users turn 18 each month. In addition, the company recently received data from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (“CIRCLE”) showing that two-thirds of college-age voters aged 18-21 provide vital voter registration resources and information received from their universities.

Raising awareness for in-app voters

Despite the interest in voting and exercising the law, college-age voters are unsure where to find the facts surrounding the process. This is particularly a problem in the context of the global pandemic, as campuses are forced to work remotely or limit the number of students on campus.

Here's a look at some of the updates and how they work:

  • Voter registration: As part of its new line of mini-apps announced this summer during the partner summit, Snapchat is introducing a new "Voter Registration Mini" that users can use to register to vote directly in the app.
  • Voter Guide: Snapchat also publishes a “Voter Guide,” which provides users with key voting information and resources from official partner organizations that cover topics such as voting, voting by email, and more.
  • Before you vote: In partnership with BallotReady, this mini-app gives pre-poll users more insight into their voting options as they finalize their plans
  • Voter Checklist: Snapchat will also be in use in the meantime in 2018, bringing back the Voter Checklist, an interactive platform designed to ensure users are registered and ready to vote.

Detect and remove misinformation

Another platform that has a firm grip on the younger demographics, TikTok, is also showing its plans for this fall. Is it the focus? Combat misinformation.

“Misinformation, disinformation, and threats to civic engagement are challenges that no platform can ignore. By working as an industry with experts and civil society organizations, we can better protect the citizen processes that are so important to our users, ”the platform explained.

At a high level, TikTok is introducing stricter, more specific guidelines for deepfakes and coordinated use of the platform to influence opinion. In addition, it will expand relationships with PolitiFact and Lead Stories to double the fact-checking process and add an option for users to easily report content or accounts for review that they believe may lead to misinformation. As part of detection processes, TikTok collects insights and important information from the Department of Homeland Security's Task Force to Combat Foreign Influence.

Regarding political ads, TikTok takes this opportunity to make it clear that they are not considered appropriate for the overall experience they are trying to create for their users. "In our opinion, the type of paid political ads does not match the experience our users expect with TikTok."

looking ahead

According to a new poll by GlobalWebIndex, more than half (52%) of 18- to 24-year-old Snapchatters will vote for the first time this November. Given their specific reach for Gen Z and Millennials, it's obvious why these resources are needed by TikTok and Snapchat.

In the middle of an unusual election year, one can no longer count on the commitment of the local voters. These first-time voters usually prepare to enroll in college on campus after basing themselves on vital information. However, these options are either limited or off the table. You can fill this education gap on platforms like TikTok and Snapchat.

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