As the stories and media bytes about the election in France reached the global audiences, another information came to light. Apparently, the Snapchat Discover tool for French users has become a medium for discovering political content. Users are adopting the tool to gather information and seek clarity of election happenings.
Snapchat has around 8 million users in France, and the Discover tool is increasingly being used by the people to assess the political leaders and their perspectives. Through the tool, there were provisions for the user to ask specific questions to chosen leaders and submit videos.
The Our Stories team based in London, which comprises of 115 people, would then run through the questions and share the relevant ones to the intended political candidates who would then reply through a video displayed on Discover France. Each of these videos was about five minutes in duration.
Active participation from Snapchat in the French
For example, on March 15, the Conservative candidate Francois Fillon was asked questions about France’s poverty line and job openings for qualified candidates. In a similar vein, Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon was asked about his perceptions on reviving the European Union and his plan for students. The respondents had to explain in 10 seconds why people should vote for them.
A candidate was featured every week. They also had a Geofilter up and running, informing voters how they can cast their vote on April 23 if they could not be physically presented and even send voters reminders preceding the election.
On the day of the election, Snapchat introduced voting-themed Geofilter and lenses only for the users in France. The Our Story panel ran national and local features such as acceptance speeches, election night footage and other input for political journalists. The Snapchat team had people on the ground to talk to candidates and the public, and feed the responses to the Editorial department for review.
Active participation from Snapchat in the French election is the first of its kind. They introduced a specific election Geofilter in November 2016 reminding people to vote, ran stories on the primaries in January 2017, featured reactions from the Primaries and other activities.
In the United Kingdom also, Snapchat took active participation giving political coverage to stories about Brexit. The company has partnered with the Electoral Commission for running Geofilter during the elections in Scotland.
Snapchat is aggressively expanding internationally
Snapchat is aggressively expanding internationally, and the French election initiative was its first in a non-English speaking market. Making its foray in Germany, the company has hired a former Facebook executive, Marianne Bullwinkel, as the country manager to create and lead the team.
While the Snapchat Discover feature was essentially a method to share entertainment-led content, various experts and agencies contend that Snapchat is utilising its position to encourage the younger generation to participate in electoral processes.