Ahead of the referendum on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament, Snap Inc. and the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) are combatting misinformation on Snapchat with a special filter. The idea is to encourage greater participation and spread awareness ahead of the first referendum in over two decades, with a quiz filter that centres on just such facts.
Snapchatters can move their heads left or right to answer the questions, and depending upon their answer they’ll receive a customised message from the AEC explaining what they need to know.
“Millions of young Australians use Snapchat every day, none of whom would ever have taken part in a referendum before,” says Snap ANZ managing director Tony Keusgen.
Campaigns of confusion
The referendum that will take place later this year has been surrounded by speculation and confusion, including in areas with large First Nations communities. The ABC recently surveyed residents of the remote Queensland town Mount Isa and found that “most were either reluctant to talk, had little knowledge of the upcoming referendum or were confused about what it would mean.”
Clarification is sorely needed, so the AEC is returning to a formula that worked for the 2022 federal election.
“Together with Snapchat we’re looking forward to making voting in the referendum easy to understand and follow, encouraging everyone to participate,” says AEC spokesperson Evan Ekin-Smyth.
“Working with Snapchat is the perfect partnership to engage with young Australians, who are new to voting in a referendum, in a fun and creative way.”
Keusgen says that since Snapchat is about “connecting and communicating” with real social networks, this AEC campaign is ideal for its platform to trigger discussions between friends and families.
AEC lens another community-minded filter
Snap has partnered with numerous brands over the years, but advertising filters have been removed and paid political filters are now more limited. The new AEC filter is part of a pattern of social advocacy filters.
In February of this year Snap partnered with ReachOut for ‘Under One Sky as an Ally’, a filter that allowed users to utilise the power of AR to share with their closest friends and family increasing visibility of active LGBTQIA+ allyship.
A failed attempt at cultural inclusion took place in 2022, when Snap was forced to take down Māori face tattoo filters, after backlash within New Zealand over trivialising and disrespecting sacred cultural practices.