Facebook wants to make it easier to find and contact your local government representatives with a new feature called Town Hall.
It’s pretty simple: Enter your address (Facebook says it won’t be displayed or shared) and you’ll see a list of officials at the local, state, and federal levels. You then choose to follow or contact them on Facebook.
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On the mobile apps, you can find it by clicking on the hamburger menu tab, and scrolling through the apps section (click on ‘See more’ for the full list of apps). On the web, it’s located under the “Explore” list on the left of the site.
It’s a nifty tool, but is somewhat limited so far. Government officials only show up if they have a Facebook page, and how you contact them varies depending on what information they’ve shared on the network.
In my own case, Facebook was able to find 12 of my representatives, but it missed out on my city council member. That’s despite the fact that she does have have an official Facebook page with all her contact information, so the algorithm clearly needs some work.
Still, it’s a welcome step forward that lines up with Zuckerberg’s new manifesto to turn Facebook into a tool for civic-engagement. A Facebook spokesperson had this to say about the feature:
Town Hall is part of our ongoing work to support civic engagement on Election Day and every day. It is a dedicated space for people who want to learn about and participate in the political process.
Town hall is rolling out to users across the United States today. No word on a similar feature being planned for other countries.