Facebook in March introduced a feature called Town Hall that helps people find and connect with their elected representatives. Now, the social network is rolling out three new features to help elected officials find and connect with their constituents on the platform: constituent badges, constituent insights, and district targeting.
Constituent badges are designed to help elected officials more easily identify comments from people who live in their district. If you opt to turn it on, a little badge will show up next to your name when you comment on content shared by your representatives. This way, your comment will stand out, and your representative will know it's coming from someone in their district.
Head over to Town Hall to turn on your constituent badge. You may also see an option to enable your badge the next time you like, comment, or share an elected official's post.
Meanwhile, the constituent insights feature shows which local news stories are popular in a given official's district. Elected officials will be able to see which stories are striking a chord in the communities they represent, so they can make sure to share their thoughts on issues people care about.
Anyone can view these locally trending stories via the community tab on their elected official's Facbook page.
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Finally, the new district-targeting feature lets elected officials target messages and posts to people likely to be their constituents. This feature will allow them to more easily solicit feedback on legislation that may affect their area.
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussed the importance of civic engagement this February in a nearly 6,000-word letter about his vision for the platform.
"Today, most of us do not even know who our local representatives are, but many policies impacting our lives are local, and this is where our participation has the greatest influence," he wrote. "Research suggests reading local news is directly correlated with local civic engagement. This shows how building an informed community, supportive local communities, and a civically-engaged community are all related."
But Facebook, of course, has also come under fire for the role it played in the 2016 election, failing to adequately clamp down on so-called "fake news" until after election day. It has since put in place certain checks to slow the spread of bogus stories.
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