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Election 2012: America’s First Social Election

Contact:  Betsy Barrett, 202-803-5783 x102

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tonight, The Internet Association released a statement from The IA President and CEO Michael Beckerman regarding the unprecedented online voter engagement driven by Internet freedom during this 2012 election:

“The Internet Association offers its congratulations to President Obama on his reelection tonight, the winner of America’s first social election.

“2012 is America’s first social election.  The online voter engagement driven by the amazing innovative design of the Internet is unprecedented. It has been the first National campaign conducted in the real time social media environment of instant reaction and interaction from voters across the country. Consider that in 2008, 5.4 million Facebook users clicked the “I voted” button; that number grew to 12 million in 2010, and today, on Election Day 2012, the number has surged even higher.    Furthermore, in 2008, 1.8 million tweets were sent on Election Day.  Today, 1.8 million tweets are sent every six minutes.  This evening, with 20 million tweets, Election Day 2012 just became the most tweeted about event in US political history.

“Two thirds of voting age Americans used Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and many other social media for civil and political activity.  From Facebook ‘likes’ to trending Google search terms to the way memes spread, the Internet and social media have been integral components of campaigns and candidates engaging voters this year.

“In 2008, Facebook, Twitter and social media were in its infancy.  Today, not only is the Internet growing the economy, creating jobs and increasing American competiveness at an unparalleled growth rate, it is driving the political spectrum.  In  the past five years,  the Internet economy represented a full 15 percent of U.S. GDP growth , and because of this, it is changing the focus of policy.  This year, both campaigns added Internet freedom to their platforms.  In four short years, social media platforms became central to the United States Presidential election and our democratic process.

“The Internet is one of the greatest engines for economic growth and prosperity the world has ever known.  Its explosive growth, innovation and vitality are the direct result of its free, open and decentralized architecture.  Both Democrats and Republicans agree that the unique nature of the Internet has changed campaigns and elections forever.  We must guard this growth for the future of voting and the freedom of this great land.”

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