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A look down any person’s news feed will show that politics and Facebook are intertwined. Your friends’ posts and comments will usually reveal their political ideas, and it’s no surprise that technology savvy politicians have looked to the political nature of social media to reach to younger audiences in a bigger scale than ever before.
But Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg is calling it off. The network has instituted a new policy that limits the reach of politicians, like President Barack Obama, who used Facebook to reach voters through friends lists.
In the 2012 reelection, Obama supporters were able to download an app on Facebook that allowed ‘likes’ on Obama’s posts to reach their Facebook friends. The app also allowed the option for supporters to share their friends list with campaign officials. They, in turn, were able to reach a whopping one million unregistered eligible voters. Recently, Facebook has announced that its newnpolicies for the upcoming year would bring a halt to this campaign practice. Come January, its new privacy policies will give users the ability to better control who is able to view their friends list and who gets their information.
In the upcoming presidential election it will be interesting to see what this will mean for future candidates. Through Facebook, Obama was able to raise $690 million for the presidential campaign.
Other new policies will go further to protect users, allowing them to select what type of ads to see. Users will also be able to see how their information will be used and how to protect your information.
However, Facebook still has a page dedicated to helping politicians use Facebook as a campaign platform. It even goes as far to provides tips on when to post online and how to get a bigger audience.
Senior Cindy DeSoto stated, ”I don’t care [about the policy changes] because it won’t actually affect younger voters.” She explained that she feels Facebook has become irrelevant because younger people no longer use Facebook as much as they used to. According to her, younger audiences are using other platforms like twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine.
If the next election’s main target is youth, they will have to start learning about new social media outlets to reach them. Obama’s team learned last year the importance of using social media, and it might not be long before you get snaps of politicians saying “Vote for me.”