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Facebook Launches 'Town Hall' For Contacting Government Reps, Adds Local Election Reminders (techcrunch.com) 69

Facebook has officially launched their "Town Hall" feature that allows users to locate, follow and contact their local, state and federal government representatives. The social media company also announced that they will be launching local election reminders in an effort to get more users to vote in state, county, and municipal elections. TechCrunch reports: The feature was recently made available in the "More" menu on mobile and on desktop to a subset of users. When you launch it, you would be presented with a list of reps at the local, state and federal level, and you could click to visit their Facebook page or send them a message, call them, or email. Not all reps offer their contact information via Facebook, however. And Facebook doesn't yet pull in the missing phone numbers or emails from off-site sources, like official government websites, for example. The company tell us that's something it wants to address in time, though. Today, Town Hall is available to all U.S. Facebook users and some of its features will now be integrated in the News Feed. If you like or comment on a post made by one of your elected officials, a new feature below the comments will invite you to call, message or email the rep. After doing so, users will then be prompted to share a post saying that they contacted the rep, as a means of encouraging their friends to do the same. Facebook says that this Contact Your Rep post is not shown to everyone, but only to those who are also already engaging with an elected official's post, through a like or comment. Additionally, Facebook says it will now offer Election Reminders for local elections. The new, local election reminders will appear for all state, county, and municipal elections in the U.S. in areas with a population of over 10,000 people, and will include both primaries and general elections.
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Facebook Launches 'Town Hall' For Contacting Government Reps, Adds Local Election Reminders

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  • Ulterior motive (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Lordpidey ( 942444 )
    I worry that facebook will use this to try to manipulate elections, by encouraging only people who are likely to vote for X party to vote. Or at least having the feature shown stronger to certain groups.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Of course.

      http://gizmodo.com/former-facebook-workers-we-routinely-suppressed-conser-1775461006

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by Gravis Zero ( 934156 )

      I worry that facebook will use this to try to manipulate elections

      Oh come on. We have a mango-in-chief leading the government, do you really think having fewer easily misled/dimwitted/single-issue voters participating in politics would make things worse?

      • do you really think having fewer easily misled/dimwitted/single-issue voters participating in politics would make things worse?

        Well if enough of them had come out to vote Hillary would have been president for starters. We'd be eating the last of the canned beans in the shelters about now.

      • Mango in chief? Since when is it okay to make fun of a President's skin color?
        • Mango in chief? Since when is it okay to make fun of a President's skin color?

          December 15, 1791

          • Hah! Okay, good reply.

            But that means it was okay between 2008 and last year as well. Which I'm not sure is actually the case, so there appears to be an ethical inconsistency when reason demands consistency from any ethical proposition. So it must either always be okay to mock a President's skin tone or it must never be okay. This is the dilemma. Upon which horn would you prefer to leap?

            • So it must either always be okay to mock a President's skin tone or it must never be okay. This is the dilemma.

              No, it's not. It's always been okay for President's with bizarre skin tones, especially when they are bigots. I'm pretty sure someone has made fun of a president with excessively pale skin.

              • Bizarre you say... So it's difference that it's okay to make fun of?

                That is a common, perhaps even natural, reaction to unfamiliar differences. That doesn't make it ethical.

                • Bizarre you say... So it's difference that it's okay to make fun of?

                  That is a common, perhaps even natural, reaction to unfamiliar differences. That doesn't make it ethical.

                  It also doesn't make it unethical which is to conclude that it's not a matter of ethics. However, I don't think anything in relation to president mango is ethical. He has clear conflicts of interest in business and now has invoked nepotism. And that's just the tip of the iceberg! If you think you are taking the high road, perhaps you should consider his attempts to ban muslims from the nation, his associations with neo-nazis, his baseless accusations, his attempt to take healthcare away from those who n

                  • Whether or not behavior is right or wrong is by definition a matter of ethics. That the rest of your post is nothing more than pure hypocrisy suggest to me that you might not be at all familiar with the topic so I recommend studying the works of Immanuel Kant. He is not known for being an easy read, but as they say, nothing important is easy.

                    Here's some other things about which you seem to be unaware: Presidents have broad discretion over staffing decisions, including being exempt from nepotism rules.

                    • Oh wow, you are in hardcore denial. I would show you the light with logical arguments and links to evidence but I'm pretty sure you're at the point where you would deny something was the color blue if it disagreed with your political ideology. As for "don't be a baby about it," when he begins acting like a respectable president rather than upset toddler crying "FAKE NEWS!" on twitter every time say something he doesn't like, I'll stop calling him a mango.

                      one hour ago:

                      Did Hillary Clinton ever apologize for receiving the answers to the debate? Just asking!

                      Still talking about election campaigni

                    • So, what you perceive as bad behavior on his part excuses what you know to be bad behavior on your part?

                      Part of my ideology is that one should treat their political opponents fairly and honestly, to give them the same benefit of the doubt I would give to political allies. Never to assume that they are anything but sincere about the motives and goals of their policies no matter how strongly I disagree with those policies.

                      And most importantly, that substantive debate is the heart of a healthy democracy

                    • he won the election and deserves the same respect as any other President.

                      To get respect you must first act respectable.

                      Enjoy your mango while you can.

                    • Then don't respect the man, respect the President.

                      Even though we disagree, I do not wish to be your foe. Perhaps your opponent, because that allows argument without precluding friendship. I believe you to be an intelligent person, just one who might be too upset about some specific thing to keep thinking clearly. Something we all fall prey to at times. Perhaps that's because I'm accustomed to having people with radically opposing political views as my closest friends, but I hope that it isn't so cont

                    • Then don't respect the man, respect the President.

                      Respect is earned, not gifted or required regardless of status. However, considering I've been civil (by not breaking laws) about him being in office, I think that's amount of respect earned. Frankly, I've thought he would be impeached since the day he was elected because I understand the kind of man that he is.

                      Even though we disagree, I do not wish to be your foe.

                      What good is an opponent that cannot recognize a joke for what it is and move on?

                      Democracy requires public debate. So we should engage, even if we two are the only ones who benefit. Name calling only gets in the way, so we should avoid it.

                      We're not actually debating anything to do with democracy. I called him Mango in Chief and you said I shouldn't for

            • by Altrag ( 195300 )

              Unless you can show that his orange skin is natural, the comparison is nowhere close to valid and you're just looking for an excuse to be racist.

              Or perhaps you can show that Trump's skin tone is natural? I mean if he came out with some (real, believable) evidence that the orange color is due to some sort of skin disease or birth defect or something, all of us mockers would have a large amount of egg on our faces. But as long as its just "uses way too much fake tan lotion," we're in a completely different

              • Well, Trump is rich, right? More than enough to afford artificial tanning solutions that don't turn you orange. Nor do I see why such a public figure would intentionally use a product that made him look foolish on television. It is possible, but hardly a reasonable assumption.

                And no, I do not want "an excuse to be racist". I have no desire to engage in such irrational nonsense, but then I am not the one who said it was okay to make fun of skin tone. Not that a racists need an excuse - those who are r

    • Facebook and Google already did that, trying to censor Republican concerns and promoting Hillary and the Progressive movement. I have zero faith that they will change their behavior, and believe they are part of the same leftist agenda as most media in the US.

      I'll also add that today most young people are not taught about the US Constitution or History in general that does not favor progressivism. They are not trained in rhetoric, and not trained in the Socratic method. (You may be, but the generalizatio

      • If you point out facts that harm leftism, you can only be a troll. The left is the group attempting to silence and censor speech. Please continue to prove the point so that your ideology dies a horrific death.

    • Re:Ulterior motive (Score:5, Interesting)

      by _Sharp'r_ ( 649297 ) <sharper.booksunderreview@com> on Tuesday March 28, 2017 @02:33AM (#54125139) Homepage Journal

      And if Facebook knows what issues you care about and what parties/politicians you support, they can easily put all that together in order to sell political advertising campaigns targeting you to specific politicians and give them the specific issues to put in the campaign.

      So really, this is about Facebook improving their product (you) for their advertisers (political buyers, in this case). Happy data collection. I'm sure Google and the other big advertising companies will follow suit if they can.

      The fact they can get additional less informed voters (those who don't vote currently are on average less informed than those who do vote) to show up at elections (which will make the average voter knowledge lower) is just the bonus cherry on top of their advertising Sundae. But hey, as long as that gets them more advertising money to propagandize those less informed voters, it's all good, right?

      • And if Facebook knows what issues you care about and what parties/politicians you support, they can easily put all that together in order to sell political advertising campaigns targeting you to specific politicians and give them the specific issues to put in the campaign.

        Yes, that's obvious. Would you not expect they to leverage that data point? I don't think there is anything "ulterior" about it...

        I don't really see anything nefarious, other than the well known MO of Facebook. People use Facebook and know or should know that Facebook collects data on what goes on at Facebook... I mean "who knew!" ...

        Taking the standard "I can't believe [insert huge faceless corporation here] is spying on my yadda yadda yadda" out of the equation, like you suggest, I think anything to get p

  • by buss_error ( 142273 ) on Monday March 27, 2017 @11:42PM (#54124621) Homepage Journal
    This is absolutely fabulous! Yet another way for our unelected officials to totally ignore the electorate!
  • Well, it had to come, didn't? Government as a Service.

  • Last year FB was caught red-handed censoring [hermancain.com] political [thefederalist.com] news [facebookcensorship.com]. They can no longer be trusted with political matters (or any news for that matter) and I have no intention of using any of their political features. What is to stop FB from disabling "town hall" notices from FB members affiliated with the political opposition? The liberals have gone too far in infiltrating news outlets, social media, "fact checkers", and other internet resources as well as rigging the elections. This chicanery must end.
  • 0. Promote political articles to your feed based on 'criteria'.
    1. Censor or demote (or delete) political articles based on content and decisions (aka someone's ideology).
    2. Offer a link to elected representatives to react based on promoted or censored articles, though not on deleted articles.
    3. Profit!

    What could be wrong with any of this?

  • Or we'd have CNN claiming that Putin was hacking Democracy again.

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