Social media midterm election coverage plays big

By Craig Howie, Los Angeles Times

Twitter, Facebook, Google and Foursquare all did their bit for democracy Tuesday with election-themed widgets and services appearing on their pages.

Facebook featured an online vote counter, which appears at the top of a user’s feed and allows users to click to say they voted, which earns them an “I voted” badge they can use a profile picture.

As of 11 a.m. PDT, the counter had been clicked more than 4 million times. It also includes a link to a Google-driven polling-center locator service. Facebook’s U.S. politics page featured the widget prominently alongside updates from politicians’ feeds.

Twitter, meanwhile, urged tweeters to use the #votereport hashtag to document their polling place experiences, which then will be collated at (which also features Google-powered maps). Foursquare launched “I Voted” badges for users who check in at a polling center.

Google included a simple link on its homepage to its locator-maps service for users to find their local polling stations. Google on Tuesday also released a list of the most searched politicians in the run-up to Tuesday’s vote. California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman topped results for top search in the month before the election, with Nevada Sen. Harry Reid second and Kentucky GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul third.

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