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Facebook launches new “Town Hall” feature


By Maddy Sell ’18

This Monday, March 27, Facebook introduced a new feature that allows users to easily follow and contact their respective state and federal representatives. The new service can be found via Facebook’s slide out menu, both on web and on mobile, and displays a list of local representatives after you type in your address. The new feature also gives how to get in contact with them outside of Facebook.

“I definitely think it will increase civic participation because more people our age are interested in politics than most people realize,” Sam Effman ’18 said. “I think the problem is that people are uncomfortable directly interacting with representatives or just don’t know how, so the new feature would definitely help bypass that.”

According to Mark Zuckerberg, cofounder of Facebook, this feature was added to increase and facilitate civic engagement, especially among the youth. A recent study found that millennials in 2016 were notably less politically active and engaged than previous generations were.

Building a civically-engaged community means building new tools to help people engage in a thoughtful and informed way,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post. “the starting point is knowing who represents you and how you can make your voice heard on the decisions that affect your life.”

Facebook was recently in the news for its part in the spread of fake news around the time of the election. Some people believe that this feature was created, along with a couple others, as an attempt  by Facebook to stop the spread of fake news, and believe “Town Hall” could fulfill that purpose.

“I think this new feature will really help stop the spread of false information because we will now have a more direct line of communication between us and our representatives” Abi Genser ’18 said.

Photo used under the Creative Commons License

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