Washington state to launch Facebook voter registration app

facebook voting democracy washington state politicalIn a move that’s sure to turn a few heads, Washington will become the first state in the nation to let residents register to vote through a Facebook app, reports the Associated Press. State leadership hopes the app will entice more younger residents to register. The app, dubbed MyVote, will reportedly launch as soon as next week, though it could arrive later.

The MyVote app will be accessible through the secretary of state’s Facebook page. Users must agree to allow Facebook to access their information, just as many apps do now. In an interview with Ars Technica, Shane Hamlin, Washington’s co-director of elections, said that the MyVote app (which, incidentally, was created by Microsoft, a Washington-based company) will pull users’ names and ages straight from Facebook, “then it operates exactly as it does if you’re not in Facebook,” he said. While speaking with the AP, Hamlin said that users need not worry about privacy — “You’re giving your information to us, not Facebook,” he said.

Washington is one of twelve states in the U.S. that allows residents to register to vote online, a feature made available in 2008. Online voter registration has so far been a success, with more than 475,000 people registering or updating their personal information through the Web-based system. Of those who registered online in Washington between March 2010 and March 2011, 60 percent fell in the 18-to-34-year-old demograpic — an active group of Facebook users. Hamlin says each county should expect to save between $0.50 and $2 per registration because of the app. The state will save an additional $0.25 per registration.

While it is not yet clear whether other states will follow Washington’s lead, it is obvious that Facebook is more than happy to mesh itself more fully with the electoral process. Last week, CNN announced that Facebook will begin to provide various metrics surrounding what people are saying about President Obama and his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney. CNN will then use that data in its Web and television election coverage.

In addition, Facebook users will be able to declare whether or not they plan to hit the ballot box this November with the “I’m Voting” app, which CNN says “will enable people who use Facebook to commit to voting and endorse specific candidates and issues.” Some argue that publicizing a person’s political views and intention to vote on Facebook is unethical.

How do you feel about Facebook becoming an internal tool for state and national elections? Is the social network stepping outside its bounds, or is this simply a natural progression for the digital era? We’re still trying to decide — let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Smart Home

Facebook Portal and Portal+ video calling devices gain new content and features

Facebook's Portal devices are video smart speakers with Alexa voice assistants built in that allow you to make calls. The 15-inch Portal+ model features a pivoting camera that follows you around the room as you speak.

Hertz speeds up car rentals with biometric scan technology

Biometric security technology that uses face, fingerprint, and voice recognition is gaining traction, with Hertz emerging as the latest company to incorporate it into its daily operations.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Social Media

This event topped Facebook’s biggest moments of the year — again

As the year comes to a close, Facebook is looking back on what users discussed most over the last year. For two years in a row, International Women's Day topped the list. So what else is on the list?
Social Media

This band owns Twitter, according to list of top accounts and tweets for 2018

What was the biggest buzz on Twitter in 2018? Twitter's 2018 Year in Review highlights the biggest tweets, accounts, and hashtags. The most-tweeted celebrities, movies, TV shows, athletes, politicians and more in Twitter's 2018 trends.
Social Media

What do yodeling and Kylie Jenner have in common? YouTube’s top 2018 videos

In a true nod to the variety found on YouTube, the platform's top 10 list of videos from 2018 range from celebrities to sports, from perfectly tossing a picture frame on the wall to a kid yodeling in aisle 12 at Walmart.
Home Theater

It took Tom Cruise to raise awareness of this troublesome TV setting

Tom Cruise, in an unexpected PSA tweet, asks you to turn off motion interpolation on your TV, but stops short of how to do it. Here's more on the topic, along with links to a guide on how to rid your TV of the dreaded "soap opera effect."

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.
Social Media

Snapchat facial recognition could soon power a new portrait mode, code suggests

Digging into Snapchat's code suggests a handful of upcoming camera features, including a portrait mode. The feature appears to use facial recognition A.I. to blur the background. The code also suggests an updated camera interface.

Google+ continues to sink with a second massive data breach. Abandon ship now

Google+ was scheduled to shut its doors in August 2019, but the second security breach in only a few months has caused the company to move its plan forward a few months. It might be a good idea to delete your account sooner than later.
Social Media

Walkie-talkie voice messaging finally comes to Instagram

In its latest grab from messaging apps, Instagram now lets you send walkie-talkie style voice messages. Apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and iMessage have offered the feature for some time.
Social Media

‘YouTube Rewind 2018’ is about to become its most disliked video ever

YouTube is about to achieve a record it really doesn't want — that of "most-disliked video." Yes, its annual recap of featuring popular YouTubers has gone down really badly this year.