How Snapchat Wants to Win the 2016 Election

How Snapchat Wants to Win the 2016 Election

By Millie Dent

Snapchat is getting a lot of attention for its presidential ambitions.

In an effort to both appeal to the youth vote and bolster its events coverage built on a growing volume of video posted by its users, the app recently posted a job opening for a Content Analyst in Politics & News.

The new hire will curate photos and videos for the app’s “Our Story” curated events coverage of the presidential race and other news events. That stories feature has already proven to be a massive success. On average, Snapchat’s Our Stories draws around 20 million people in a 24-hour window, director of partnerships at Snapchat, Ben Schwerin, told Re/code. The three-day story in April about Coachella, the music festival, generated 40 million unique visitors.

Political events might not be draws on that same scale, but Snapchat apparently believes its massive influence with younger Americans could attract millions millennials to engage in the political process at a time when voter turnout is at its lowest levels since World War II. In the 2012 mid-term election, the national turnout rate was 35.9 percent. Of that, only 13 percent were between the ages of 18 and 29.

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Boasting more than 100 million daily users, Snapchat is valued at $16 billion — giving it the reach and the financial clout to become a force in 2016 campaign coverage. About 60 percent of U.S. smartphone users aged between 13 and 24 have used the app, according to The Financial Times. The largest demographic of users is between the ages of 18 and 24 (45 percent), followed by those between 25 and 34 (26 percent).

To capitalize on that user base, Snapchat recently hired former CNN political reporter Peter Hamby to oversee its expanding news team. Snapchat wants to promote content from debates, rallies, appearances and other election events and allow users to follow along. But this isn’t purely an experiment in civic participation. Candidates can pay for political ads to appear on the social media app.

The social media app has an ace up its sleeve to incentivize candidates to purchase ads. The app already has age-gating technology and a form of geographic targeting. Originally put into place to make sure underage kids wouldn’t see alcohol ads, the age gate could be used to reach only voting-age users. The geographic targeting allows Our Stories to only be viewable by people in the same city or area, so politicians could target specific areas, especially ones in a tight race.

Snapchat, best known as the service that allows users to send disappearing photos, claims that ads inserted into “Our Stories” have an advantage over other social media advertisements because they leave more lasting impressions.

If campaigns buy into that and turn to Snapchat as a way to connect with a hard-to-reach demographic, the social media company could be the big winner in the 2016 election.

Increasing Number of Americans Delay Medical Care Due to Cost: Gallup

By The Fiscal Times Staff

From Gallup: “A record 25% of Americans say they or a family member put off treatment for a serious medical condition in the past year because of the cost, up from 19% a year ago and the highest in Gallup's trend. Another 8% said they or a family member put off treatment for a less serious condition, bringing the total percentage of households delaying care due to costs to 33%, tying the high from 2014.”

Number of the Day: $213 Million

A security camera hangs near a corner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building in Washington
Jonathan Ernst
By The Fiscal Times Staff

That’s how much the private debt collection program at the IRS collected in the 2019 fiscal year. In the black for the second year in a row, the program cleared nearly $148 million after commissions and administrative costs.

The controversial program, which empowers private firms to go after delinquent taxpayers, began in 2004 and ran for five years before the IRS ended it following a review. It was restarted in 2015 and ran at a loss for the next two years.

Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who played a central role in establishing the program, said Monday that the net proceeds are currently being used to hire 200 special compliance personnel at the IRS.

US Deficit Up 12% to $342 Billion for First Two Months of Fiscal 2020: CBO

District of Columbia
By The Fiscal Times Staff

The federal budget deficit for October and November was $342 billion, up $36 billion or 12% from the same period last year, the Congressional Budget Office estimated on Monday. Revenues were up 3% while outlays rose by 6%, CBO said.

Hospitals Sue to Protect Secret Prices

iStockphoto/The Fiscal Times
By The Fiscal Times Staff

As expected, groups representing hospitals sued the Trump administration Wednesday to stop a new regulation would require them to make public the prices for services they negotiate with insurers. Claiming the rule “is unlawful, several times over,” the industry groups, which include the American Hospital Association, say the rule violates their First Amendment rights, among other issues.

"The burden of compliance with the rule is enormous, and way out of line with any projected benefits associated with the rule," the suit says. In response, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services said that hospitals “should be ashamed that they aren’t willing to provide American patients the cost of a service before they purchase it.”

See the lawsuit here, or read more at The New York Times.

A Decline in Medicaid and CHIP Enrollment

Dr. Benjamin Hoffman speaks with Nancy Minoui about 9 month old Marion Burgess, who suffers from a chronic heart condition, at an appointment at the Dornbecher Children's hospital in Portland
By The Fiscal Times Staff

Between December 2017 and July 2019, enrollment in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) fell by 1.9 million, or 2.6%. The Kaiser Family Foundation provided an analysis of that drop Monday, saying that while some of it was likely caused by enrollees finding jobs that offer private insurance, a significant portion is related to enrollees losing health insurance of any kind. “Experiences in some states suggest that some eligible people may be losing coverage due to barriers maintaining coverage associated with renewal processes and periodic eligibility checks,” Kaiser said.