Twitter is launching a new push to get more people to participate in the 2020 US Presidential Election, including a prominent, top of timeline prompt that will be displayed to all users in the US when they log in today.
As explained by Twitter:
“In partnership with National Voter Registration Day, Twitter is making its biggest push ever to encourage people to register to vote and confirm their registration status. Today, we’re rolling out new tools and in-app experiences that will put voter registration resources at the public’s fingertips and support the essential voter registration efforts happening across the country.”
As you can see in the above screenshots, the new voter notifications will be displayed on the main Twitter home screen and in the Explore tab, ensuring all users are made aware of their voting options.
In addition to this, today, Twitter will also prompt users with push alerts to encourage voter registration, while it’s also adding two new ‘hashflag’ emojis for #NationalVoterRegistrationDay and #VoteReady “to empower civic conversation across the country”.
These new elements are tied specifically into National Voter Registration Day, but they also add to Twitter’s ongoing efforts to encourage broader civic participation, and maximize both awareness and transparency around the 2020 Election.
For example, Twitter’s added badges on candidate profiles to highlight their tweets, and clarify who’s saying what (and why) on the platform.
Twitter’s also expanded its policies around election misinformation and the voting process – which has even seen it add warning labels to tweets from US President Donald Trump, underlining the seriousness of its push in this respect.
Twitter has also stopped accepting paid political ads, and has added a range of other measures and tools in order to play its role in securing the integrity of the US Election process, and ensure its platform is not being used to manipulate voters.
Still, there are areas of concern. Various reports have suggested that armies of Twitter bots are still being used to amplify political messaging, and sow division among voters. A recent report also found that one conservative youth group had been paying teenagers in Arizona “to flood social media with pro-Trump messages”.
There are still ways that Twitter can play a negative role in the election process, but for its part, Twitter is looking to add more tools to combat voter manipulation – particularly in relation to the voting process – and get more people to the polls in 2020.
Combine this with Facebook’s new voting participation push and it should see more people encouraged to the poll via social platform usage.
Meta Will Shut Down its Newsletter Platform Early Next Year
Another sign of Meta’s fleeting interest in the latest trends, the company launched Bulletin in April 2021, as part of an effort to take a piece of the growing newsletter market, with platforms like Substack seeing massive growth in facilitating direct connection between writers and their audiences. Twitter also acquired newsletter platform Revue, and it had seemed, at the time, that newsletters could offer a new, supplementary income stream for creators, aligned with social apps.
In addition to this, Meta also saw an opportunity to provide a platform for local publications that had been shut down due to the pandemic. With ad dollars from local businesses drying up, due to lockdown measures, many smaller publications had to shut down, and Meta viewed this as a chance to make Facebook an even more critical element of community engagement, by providing a direct pathway for independent journalists to serve their audiences through the app.
As part of its initial push, Meta allocated $5 million in funding for local publications to convert to Bulletin instead.
And it sort of worked. Bulletin, at last at one stage, supported over 115 publications, with more than half of the creators on the platform reaching over 1,000 subscribers.
But this year, amid tougher market conditions, Meta lost interest.
The company has been gradually scaling back its investment in news and original content in recent months. Back in July, The Wall Street Journal reported that Meta had reallocated resources from both its Facebook News tab and Bulletin, in order to ‘heighten their focus on building a more robust Creator economy’
In other words, Reels – Meta’s main investment focus for the future of the Creator Economy is short-form video content, which drives more views, more engagement, and is the big trend that Meta’s chasing right now.
As a result, Meta says that it will shut down Bulletin by early next year.
As per Meta:
“Bulletin has allowed us to learn about the relationship between Creators and their audiences and how to better support them in building their community on Facebook. While this off-platform product itself is ending, we remain committed to supporting these and other Creators’ success and growth on our platform.”
So long as they create Reels, I guess.
Again, the decision here is no surprise, but it does serve as another reminder that Meta chases whatever trends it can, and it has no real, long-term commitment on any of its new pushes.
Video is the thing, as it has been several times before, and Meta will keep pushing that till audiences lose interest. Then it’ll be something else that Meta’s pitching to brands, publishers, users, etc.
Logically, Meta follows the latest trends in order to maximize the benefit of such within its tools. But it is worth noting that, when it does lose interest, it tends to move on entirely, leaving anyone who’s invested in its last whim out in the cold.
Overall, Bulletin isn’t huge, and it won’t impact a heap of writers and publishers, as such. But even so, for those that have invested in the platform, in good faith, it’s a bitter pill, and while they will now be able to move on to other platforms as well, it’s good to remind yourself that Meta chases trends, and moves on quick.
‘Don’t build on rented land’. ‘Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket’. Don’t trust social platforms to keep supporting that feature or platform that you’ve come to rely on.
The closure of Bulletin may seem like a side note to many, but it’s an important reminder that you need to diversify your strategy to avoid such impacts.
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