TECH
11/06/2012 01:26 pm ET

Facebook Election Heat Map Shows Where, When 'Friends' Are Voting Nationwide

The people at Facebook want you to vote.

They also want to help you find a polling place and see which of your friends have already voted. And for those interested in real-time data, the site also features a heat map showing where Facebook users are voting nationwide.

As CNET notes, Facebook started rolling out its polling place locator Sunday night and featured it on its U.S. Politics page. The app prompts users to type in an address. After they select "search," the tool brings up information about the closest polling location.

In addition, the social media site has unveiled a heat map that shows where Facebook users are voting across the country. Information on voter gender and age is also available.

The map's description reads:

This map is a representation of people on Facebook who clicked an Election Day prompt to share with their friends that they're voting in the 2012 US election. The information displayed on Facebook Stories has been anonymized and aggregated.

The map displays bursts of activity as people share that they're voting. The size of each burst matches the number of people voting in that region right now. The histogram shows a record of activity over time, with an additional breakdown by gender and age.

Just as it did for the presidential election in 2008 and the midterm elections in 2010, the social network reminded users to cast their ballots with a special Election Day message.

“It’s Election Day,” read the banner at the top of many users' news feeds Tuesday morning. “Tell friends you’re voting in the 2012 Election and find out where to vote.” When users click that they voted, a message appears for their Facebook friends to see.

“We’re simply promoting civic engagement on election day,” Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes told Mashable. “Studies have shown that a person is more likely to vote with social context, and there is no place more social than Facebook.”

Facebook's voting push seems to be effective. According to a new study, the social media site's "I voted" button influenced hundreds of thousands of Americans to go vote during the 2010 midterm election, CNET reports.

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