Spotify is encouraging people to vote in the European elections

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Spotify has launched a campaign to encourage users to vote in the upcoming European Parliament elections.

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The ‘Play your part, Europe’ campaign will notify all free and premium users over 18 with an in-app message to remind them of the election cycle.

Europe will vote for its next parliament in elections between 6-9 June this year. The European elections have had a recent upswing in voter turnout after a 40 year downward trend, but the youth vote turnout is still comparatively underrepresented.

This has inspired new measures by some European countries to increase the youth vote. Belgium and Germany have both lowered their voting age to 16 – joining Malta and Austria. Greece also lowered its voting age to 17 ahead of the last set of EP elections.

Now, Spotify is attempting to encourage younger voters by reminding its European users to vote in the elections. The music streaming app has also launched a playlist full of European artists, as well as providing links to the EU website in its messaging.

This isn’t the first time Spotify has run a voting campaign ahead of elections. The Swedish company recently put out a similar notification for the UK local elections, and for elections in Sweden, the Netherlands and the US.

Come June, around 365 million people will be eligible to vote in the EU elections. But how will social media sites impact the next five years of EU policy?

The social media factor

As a music streaming platform, Spotify is able to run its campaign without much concern over partisan involvement. However, the major social media platforms have come under increased scrutiny since the last round of elections in 2019.

Since 2019, TikTok has been the fastest growing social media platform in Europe. Increased youth turnout in the last election was widely seen as the result of parliamentary campaigns through platforms like Snapchat. So TikTok, which has a large Gen-Z audience, could have an important role in the upcoming elections.

President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola has posted videos on the app in an attempt to engage with young voters. She explained her choice to Euronews: “Four countries will vote at the age of 16, one country will vote at the age of 17. What I don’t want is for those young people to get their news potentially from propaganda or misinformation sources. So we saidm let’s get on there, let’s get our message through, and hopefully, once those kids are scrolling through, they get something that says, ‘ooh, I like this, I’ll go vote.’”

While Metsola isn’t alone in her political use of the platform, she is notable due to arriving on the algorithm a year after TikTok was banned from European Parliament employees work devices.

TikTok has been at the centre of concerns over social media cybersecurity in Europe. Both the Commission and Parliament “strongly recommend” lawmakers remove the platform from their personal devices.

Yet Metsola’s point about tackling misinformation is shared by many other politicians on the left in Europe. “If we really want to also address the very young people, I think we cannot leave it again to the far right parties to be on TikTok while we say, with a kind of arrogance, no, I don’t like TikTok,” Tilly Metz, a Luxembourgish MEP from the Green Party told Euronews in an electoral debate.

TikTok, Meta and X have all been engaged with by the European Commission to stress-test their election guidelines on misinformation.

The EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) provided guidelines for social media platforms with large user bases to understand their role and responsibilities in an election cycle. Platforms with over 45 million users were invited along to the workshop last month.

TikTok and Meta have already set up election centres to combat misinformation.

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