Facebook has launched Town Hall, a tool to make it easy for people to get in touch with government representatives. The social networking giant’s new U.S. service informs users who their local elected representatives are and how to contact them. It also reportedly encourages users to write a letter to politicians, or pick up the phone and call them. The social network announced it will now also offer Election Reminders for local elections.
In February, company CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a 5,500-word letter in which he positioned the social networking giant’s fresh role in addressing some of the world’s biggest problems. The Internet Entrepreneur had said that the company’s next focus will be developing the social infrastructure for community. Facebook has now given a hint on what that might mean.
According to The Wall Street Journal, based on a user’s location, Menlo Park’s new civic engagement tool will present often tricky-to-find information on at least some local political representatives. The Internet giant does not have comprehensive information on the roughly 519,000 elected government representatives in the United States, but no other database does either.
On mobile phones, Town Hall lives with other tools of the social network under a button with three vertical bars. On the web, the Facebook tool is accessible through a blue icon on the right side of users’ News Feed. Tech Times notes that the tool features connections to state and federal officials, along with the local elected representatives for the 150 biggest cities in the U.S.
Facebook’s Town Hall is a nonpartisan civic management tool that offers advice on how to follow or contact local elected officials. Following the success of the company’s first major voter registration drive, the feature also nudges people to vote. The service is one of the first glimpses of how the company will execute on Zuckerberg’s vision of using the social platform’s influence.
The Zuckerberg-led social media company is not restricting its get-out-the-vote efforts to federal elections. Facebook is now also offering reminders to vote in local United States elections, whether they are at the state, municipal, or county level. Engadget notes that the effort could be crucial to goading interest in frequently neglected regional elections, particularly in tandem with the company’s Town Hall tool. Both features are part of the Internet giant’s wider attempt to take responsibility for its impact on politics.
Facebook’s new U.S. service makes it easier for users to reach out to elected officials. The company confirmed the feature is available to all United States users on mobile and desktop, and will now include News Feed integration. The local election reminder will appear for all municipal, county, and state in the country in areas with a population of more than 10,000 people, and will include both general and primary elections.
By Anila Maring
Photo Courtesy Facebook