People On Twitter Are Using Clickbait To Encourage Their Followers To Vote

"This is the one that got me to stop procrastinating."

With the midterm elections coming up, you've likely seen links to voter registration all over the internet, with messages about how important it is to have your voice heard. But some Twitter users have adopted a bit of a shortcut to get people to the polls, and you may have already fallen for it.

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Tweets appearing to link to celebrity gossip are actually leading people to voter registration sites such as vote.gov and vote.org. One of the most popular examples promises to tell users "why Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson split up." Tim Cigelske, who posted the shortened link, wrote on Medium that it has been clicked more than a million times.

Cigelske called the technique "Rick Rolling for good," referring to an internet meme in which a user will tease a link which ultimately leads the clicker to Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" video. He said he got the idea from his friend Ashlee Marie Preston, who tweeted a rumor about Kim Kardashian and Kanye West getting divorced. Cigelske says Preston's link has been clicked more than 2 million times.

Comedian Kathy Griffin even used the tactic, tweeting a supposed link to a voicemail President Donald Trump left her to trick curious fans. Other users have retweeted links such as Cigelske's with comments encouraging followers to take a look. And it may be working — one user said the tweet got them to "stop procrastinating" and register.

If you don't think posting about voter registration on social media has the power to encourage voting, just ask Taylor Swift. After the singer encouraged her fans to vote this November in an Instagram post, voter registration actually spiked, with vote.org saying there were 65,000 registrations in 24 hours — more than the entire month of August.

"You may or may not care about Peter Davidson and Ariana Grande, but either way you deserve to vote — and you should vote," Cigelske wrote on Medium, going on to estimate the number of people who may have registered from just 1 percent of his and Preston's clicks. "If this serves as a reminder to 20,500 or so people, then it was worth it."

(H/T: Mashable | Newsweek)

Cover image: Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

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