New Facebook Features Allow Politicians to Connect with Constituents

WATERLOO, IA - SEPTEMBER 27: Voting booths are set up for early voting at the Black Hawk County Courthouse on September 27, 2012 in Waterloo, Iowa. Early voting starts today in Iowa where in the 2008 election 36 percent of voters cast an early ballot. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott Olson/Getty Images

A new Facebook feature allows politicians to connect with constituents by showing which users in the comments are in their constituency.

As part of the new update, Facebook has also released constituent insights and district targeting tools for politicians on the social network.

“Constituent badges are a new, opt-in feature that allow Facebook users to identify themselves as a person living in the district the elected official represents,” reports Tech Crunch. “Facebook determines whether or not someone is a constituent based on the address information provided either in Town Hall, or as part of the process used to turn on the badges.”

“The idea with the badges is to make it easier for elected officials to determine which Facebook comments, questions and concerns are being shared by those they actually represent,” they continued. “Whether or not they’ll treat these sentiments with the same degree of importance as they would a phone call, email, or letter remains to be seen.”

Constituent insights will allow politicians to see what’s popular in their constituency, including news stories, allowing them to discover what’s relevant to Facebook users they represent.

District targeting will allow politicians to gather feedback from accounts only in their constituency.

The tools will give them the option of setting polls only to their local area and the ability to address local issues in posts that are only visible to those in the area.

The update is Facebook’s latest for their Town Hall section, which aims to connect politicians and their voters online.

“[Town Hall] identifies your elected officials — even local ones — sends reminders to vote and goads you to pick up the phone,” explained The Wall Street Journal in March. “On the web, Town Hall is accessible via a blue icon on the right side of members’ News Feed. On phones, it lives with other Facebook tools under a button with three vertical bars.”

“One of Town Hall’s most useful capabilities is identifying your elected officials. To do that, you have to tell Facebook where you live,” they continued. “The more precise you are, the more representatives it will identify. Many Facebook members already share some location information, and an address you enter in Town Hall won’t be displayed, shared or used to serve ads, says Facebook.”

“Today’s threats are increasingly global, but the infrastructure to protect us is not… Humanity’s current systems are insufficient to address these issues,” announced Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “For the past decade, Facebook has focused on connecting friends and families… With that foundation, our next focus will be developing the social infrastructure for community — for supporting us, for keeping us safe, for informing us, for civic engagement, and for inclusion of all.”

Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington or like his page at Facebook.


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