Facebook inserts itself into politics with new tools that help elected officials reach constituents


Facebook this year has launched a number of features that make it easier for people to reach their government representatives on its social network, including Town Hall ,and associated integrations with News Feed, as well asways to share reps contact info in your own posts. Today, the company is expanding on these initiatives with those designed for elected officials themselves. The new tools will help officials connect with their constituents, as well as to increase understanding of which issues their constituents care about most.

Specifically, the social network is rolling out three new features: constituent badges, constituent insights, and district targeting.

Constituent badges are a new, opt-in feature that allow Facebook consumers to identify themselves as person or persons living in the district the elected official represents. Facebook determines whether or not someone is aconstituent based on the address information provided either in Town hall, or as part of the process used to turn on the badges.

While anyone could enter a sham address and pretend to be a constituent, Facebook has put controls in place to limit those bad actors. For starters, Facebook users can only be a verifiedconstituent based on one address at a time and, if person or persons changes their address, their badge move away from prior posts. Facebook likewise limits the number of days mailing address can be changed, we understand.

The idea with the badges is to make it easier for elected officials to determine which Facebook commentaries, questions and concerns are being said that he shared those they actually represent. Whether or not theyll treat these feelings with the same degree of importance as they would a phone call, email, or letter remains to be seen.

Facebook customers will be prompted to turn on constituent badges when they like or comment on posts by their reps through a division that appears on the page. Alternately, users can go to the Town Hall segment on Facebook to turn on the badge themselves.

Once enabled, badges will appear anytime a person commentaries on content shared by their own representatives.

A second feature called Constituent Insights is designed to help elected officials learn which local news tales and content is popular in their district, so they can share their reckons on those matters.

This will be available to the reps through a new Page Insights feature, available to Page admins, which includes a horizontally scrollable section where locally trending news stories seem. Here, the elected officials can click a link to post that story to their Facebook Page, along with their thoughts on the issue.

Additionally, constituents will be able to browsing through these same stories on a new Community tab on the officials Facebook Page.

The third new feature District Targeting is arguably the most notable.

This effectively commits elected official the the ways and means of meet feedback from theirconstituents through Facebook directly, employing either posts or polls that are targeted simply towards those who actually live in their particular district.

That means the official can post to Facebook to ask for feedback from constituents about an issue, and these posts will only be viewable by those who live in their district.

Of course, this is something that means that the elected official would be taking an active even proactive role in engaging with their home communities andconstituent base, rather than waiting forconstituents to reach out to their agency with their supposes, as is often the example today.

Overall, the combination of Town Hall with these new features aimed at government officials represent a developing exertion at Facebook to become more involved in the political process and the dialog surrounding policy issues.

The changes also follow Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerbergsnearly 6,000 -word manifestoon Facebook earlier this year where he discusseda number of aspirationsfor the social network in the days ahead, including one focused on how Facebook could be used to increase civic engagement.

In part, these moves are a reaction to the role Facebook played in the U.S. elections, where it did nothing to curb the widespread sharing of disinformation across its network something that many have claimed helped contribute to Trumps win.

On that front, Facebook has rolled out a number of new controls, include things likePSAs in the News Feed about how to identify fake news tales; displays of related articles and fact checkers before links are opened; displays of alternative news sources in its Trending section: and its downranking fake news narratives to attain them less visible.

Meanwhile, it has also rolled out features to help Facebook consumers become more politically involved( instead of simply enraged ), by assisting them discovery and contact reps, and more.

Facebook says all three new features are rolling out starting today.

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