Social media takes center stage on Election Day, tense nation waits for final result

WASHINGTON, U.S. - With the U.S. election results going down to the wire, Americans are not just turning on the television, they're also firing up laptops, tablets and smartphones to keep ...


• President Obama blasts social media for fake news

• People's views influenced by social media

• Trump's website glitch causes huge embarrassment for his team

WASHINGTON, U.S. - With the U.S. election results going down to the wire, Americans are not just turning on the television, they're also firing up laptops, tablets and smartphones to keep track of the latest results from around the country.

This presidential election has been a social media election on steroids with higher engagement than anyone has ever seen. 

While both candidates campaigned aggressively throughout the country, making pit stops in key states even till the final hours, their permanent campaign stops were on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram, where both Trump and Clinton could reach voters through their smartphones and the voters can reach right back.

But with so much information going back and forth thanks to social media, the danger of fake news spreading during the election cycle was more pronounced than ever, something which President Obama highlighted on Monday while speaking at a rally for Hillary Clinton.

The president blasted social media networks for the spread of "crazy conspiracy theorizing." 

"And people, if they just repeat attacks enough, and outright lies over and over again, as long as it's on Facebook and people can see it, as long as it’s on social media, people start believing it," Obama said. "And it creates this dust cloud of nonsense."

He's right. 

Fake social media accounts are spreading misinformation to suppress voter turnout or to influence how people vote, keeping social-media companies busy trying to delete them all. 

People are advising each other to double-check the source of information and to be careful what they share with friends and followers.

And the impact of social media on people's political views has been corroborated by recent researches. 

A new Pew Research Center study showed that despite the common wisdom that politics and social pleasantries don’t mix very well, political discussion that happens on social media could be changing the minds of many who witness it. 

In Pew’s study, 20 percent of respondents admitted that they had changed their minds about a political issue or candidate after seeing the issue or candidate discussed on social media.

Hoping to cash in on social media's popularity, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat streamed coverage of the elections, a substantial shift from previous years. 

Twitter partnered with BuzzFeed News for live coverage, while Facebook partnered with ABC News. Google also had a presence through YouTube.

The efforts by the social media powerhouses highlight their interest in creating content and keeping eyeballs on their pages as election results were pouring in.

Twitter witnesses huge turnout

No matter whether they cast their vote for Donald Trump, who champions Twitter as a "modern-day form of communication", or Hillary Clinton, who famously told Trump to delete his account, the social media service won the day. 

This tweet of Clinton's was in fact the most retweeted tweet of the entire election.

Twitter was certainly a favorite tool for the Republican nominee, who used it to voice everything from thank-you to supporters to displeasure with those who didn't support him.

And by 9 pm ET, more than 35 million election-related tweets had coursed through Twitter, already shattering the record set on Election Day in 2012 of more than 31 million tweets total. 

Twitter also discovered another interesting thing. 

No matter who wins the actual presidential election, Trump seems to have won Twitter. 

People mentioned him on Twitter more than they mentioned Clinton. 

Good, bad, or ugly, people couldn't stop tweeting about Trump.

And with the situation currently extremely tense, it's this social media network that helped bring some light moments to this highly anxious presidential race. 

In swing state Florida, where Donald Trump proved victorious, several took their anger out with some amusing tweets.

 

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