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Beyonce and Jay-Z
courtesy of Instagram/@ontheruntourII

A Beyoncé and Jay-Z break-up story is being used to get people to vote

A sly reminder as the deadline to register to vote in the UK general election approaches

Misinformation on social media is a big deal, especially when it’s a partisan attempt to sway political allegiance (see: the Conservative Campaign Headquarters rebranding as “factcheckUK” ahead of a televised debate). When it’s a briefly misleading snippet of celebrity gossip that encourages you to vote though, it’s a bit more excusable.

Beyoncé and her ‘rapper’ husband Jay-Z confirm their ‘Conscious uncoupling’,” reads a tweet from Marvyn Harrison posted earlier this week (November 21). But when you click through the link to get to the story (which, let’s face it, would be huge) you’re taken to the site where you register to vote.

It’s smart; it’s quick; and it’s relatively harmless (no one’s getting hurt by a reminder of their eligibility to help decide who wins the UK’s upcoming general election). 

That’s probably why, for what’s technically fake news, the post has had an overwhelmingly positive reception. What began as a joke in the group chat (where all good content originates) now has hundreds of comments praising Harrison. 

“Under any other circumstances I would have been PISSED that this was fake,” one commenter writes. “But this is for a noble reason.”

It’s also very timely, since the deadline for registering to vote in the election is on Tuesday (November 26).

Using celebrity gossip to encourage people to register to vote actually isn’t a new tactic. In 2018, a similar post sent gossip-hungry users to the US voting registration page, swapping out Beyoncé and Jay-Z for the timelier Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson.

The Carters tweet does seem to have reignited the trend though, as more examples have been popping up in the last couple of days, feat David Attenborough, Meghan Markle, and Nando’s going into administration.

According to the official data, a massive spike in voter registrations on Friday (November 22) saw a monthly high of 308,000 applications: 103,000 of them in the Under 25 bracket and another 103,000 from 25 to 34, with smaller numbers as the age range increases. Could these tweets be credited with the surge? Probably not tbh, but they can’t have hurt, either. 

If you haven’t been convinced by clickbait already, you can register to vote here. Again, the deadline is fast approaching.