LONDON — The Electoral Commission has launched a nationwide “geofilter” on Snapchat in a push to try to get young people to register to vote.
The deadline to register is May 22 ahead of the general election on June 8, and the Electoral Commission says it wants to remind “over [ten million] daily Snapchatters in the UK they are running out of time to ensure their voices are heard.”
A geofilter is an optional filter users can overlay on top of photos and videos on Snapchat if they’re within a predefined area. Cities and neighbourhoods often have dedicated geofilters only available to people in the area. Snapchat parent company Snap creates some geofilters, and organisations can also pay the Californian app maker for custom sponsored ones.
The Electoral Commission’s geofilter sticks the caption “Find your voice!” at the top of the snap, along with a graphic at the bottom remind users of the deadline.
A nationwide geofilter would normally be pretty pricey, but the Electoral Commission didn’t pay Snapchat for the geofilter, a spokesperson told Business Insider. The Commission has worked with other tech organisations — including Facebook and Twitter — to promote civic engagement in elections, and the partnership with Snapchat is the latest example of this.
This, from the Electoral Commission, screams silly gimmick. pic.twitter.com/5ZvOpa6fHn
— Sam Coates Times (@SamCoatesTimes) May 17, 2017
Reaction to the geofilter has been mixed. Sam Coates, deputy political editor at The Times, tweeted that it “screams silly gimmick” and is a waste of time.
But BuzzFeed political editor Jim Waterson countered that “I’m a real cynic when it comes to effectiveness of most youth engagement / internet politics stuff but this will reach millions, easy.”