At Snap, we believe that civic engagement is one of the most powerful forms of self-expression, and youth engagement in our democracy continues to build. That’s why we’ve made it a priority since 2016 to provide Snapchatters with in-app tools to learn about voting and local government, helping over 30 million access voting information in 2020, and empowering four million to learn about opportunities to actually run for office themselves in 2021.
In 2020, with the help of our civic partners, we were able to help over 1.2 million Snapchatters register to vote, playing a part in the largest increase in youth voter turnout in decades and reaching groups of young voters who are often left behind. Research by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement’s (CIRCLE) found that during that election cycle, Snapchat’s tools especially helped register Black youth, as well as young Americans that are unlikely to have gone to college – groups that tend to be under-invested in by campaigns and organizations, and underrepresented in the electorate. But, we know there is much more work to be done.
The Snapchat generation still votes at substantially lower levels than older Americans, and many groups of young people are still underrepresented. CIRCLE’s “Growing Voters” report shows that to continue improving turnout, it is vital to engage and educate future voters earlier on in life, even before they are eligible to vote, and meet them where they are. CIRCLE also estimates that there are more than 8.3 million new eligible voters since the 2020 elections.
That’s where Snapchat can help. As a platform that reaches 90% of 13-24-year-olds in the U.S., we have the opportunity to empower the Snapchat generation to be active and educated participants in this coming election season. So for 2022, we are building on our strong foundation of civic engagement efforts to do more.
Our Suite of Tools for the 2022 U.S. Election
We know that one of the most important drivers of voting is encouragement from your family and friends, so we are empowering Snapchatters to organize their communities through a new activity-sharing feature in our redesigned Register to Vote tool.
Partnering with BallotReady, we’ve built an in-app tool that helps Snapchatters register to vote – and allows 16- and 17-year-old Snapchatters to pre-register in select states where available. We also are launching an organizing hub within the tool that enables Snapchatters to reach out to friends who still need to register to vote.
In addition, we are launching Voting 101 hub, which provides in-app instructional videos on how to register to vote, voter ID, become a poll worker and more. We have developed these tools in partnership with Nonprofit Vote, Vote Early Day, Power the Polls, BallotReady, Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights Under the Law, and VoteRiders. As always, we will leverage Augmented Reality to enhance the real world around us. Snapchatters will be encouraged to register and get out the vote through fun Lenses and Filters – and more importantly, encourage friends to do the same.
Finally, we know Snapchatters love to offer their local perspectives with Snaps shared to our Map. During election season this year, our team of content curators will plan to feature local Map stories highlighting voter engagement content to help Snapchatters get out the vote in their communities.
Providing Credible News and Preventing Misinformation
We also recognize that a big part of empowering Snapchatters to engage in the civic process is making sure that misinformation isn't allowed to spread on our platform. We have always maintained a commitment to ensuring that news and information on Snapchat is credible, from trusted and clear sources.
This commitment starts with our platform architecture, which includes safeguards — like partnerships with accountable publishers on Discover, and review of user content before it’s eligible for amplification to large audiences on Spotlight — to prevent unvetted content from reaching a large audience. We have always partnered with trusted sources, like NBC News, Refinery29, VICE, and The Wall Street Journal, as well as continuing essential programming from Good Luck America. And as in previous election cycles, some of our Discover media partners will be including swipe up to register to vote links on their content.
These safeguards — along with design choices that emphasize real-friend communication and creativity, while providing simple mechanisms for reporting harmful content — help reduce the reach of false information across our community. You can learn more about our approach here.
We’re excited to build on our efforts to help continue to empower young people to get involved in civics and to empower them to build on the recent growth in youth voter turnout. We will look forward to continuing to work with our partners to help the Snapchat Generation continue to make their voices heard in this election.